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UMC on track for bariatric Center of Excellence certification

By Sara McManamy-Johnson sjohnson@lebanondemocrat.com • Dec 17, 2015 at 6:00 PM

It’s no secret that obesity can be bad for your health. It increases your risks for developing several varied health conditions, including hypertension, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and more.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, more than 35 percent of America’s adults and almost 17 percent of America’s youth were obese as of 2010.

While a healthy diet and exercise are generally the prescribed remedy, sometimes additional measures are needed.

For patients with a body mass index greater than 40 or for patients with serious health complications, such as sleep apnea or diabetes, that are linked to weight, bariatric surgery has become an increasingly viable option.

“We’re absolutely seeing a trend, the same way you see a trend in healthy living…The awareness,” said Adam Groshans, a spokesperson for University Medical Center in Lebanon.

And UMC is positioning itself as increasingly viable option for area residents considering bariatric surgery. The hospital is in the final stages for certification as a Bariatric Center for Excellence.

“It’s a long, grueling process and we’re at the finish line,” said Groshans.

He said the hospital should receive its certification by March.

To receive the certification, each surgeon performing bariatric surgeries in the hospital must perform at least 50 bariatric surgeries within one year with specific results.

“They’ve got to hit a certain quality matrix,” said Groshans. “It’s not like you can just knock out 50; chances are, you’re going to have some complications or some setbacks.”

Additionally, hospitals must perform at least 125 bariatric surgeries per year, and each surgeon must have already performed 125 bariatric surgeries during the course of his or her career. To maintain the certification, the surgeons must continue to perform at a pace of 50 bariatric surgeries per year.

Groshans said the certification factors strongly in a patient’s decision where to have the surgery and the patient’s cost for the surgery.

“Many insurance companies will only cover [bariatric] surgeries that are performed in these designated [Centers for Excellence],” said Groshans. “I think it’s only going to tighten up, too.”

He said only about 400 hospitals in the country hold the certification.

“This will be even more impactful for the community because this is a spot you can go get it done without having to go to the other side of Nashville,” said Groshans.

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