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Bariatric Surgery

BMC Weight Loss Surgery Program Achieves National Accreditation
August 22, 2007



PITTSFIELD, MA – The bariatric surgery program at Berkshire Medical Center has achieved national accreditation by the Bariatric Surgery Center Network (BSCN) of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). Established in 2005 by the ACS in an effort to extend established quality improvement practices to all disciplines of surgical care, the ACS BSCN Accreditation Program provides confirmation that a bariatric surgery program, like BMC’s has demonstrated its commitment to providing the highest quality care for its bariatric surgery patients. Accredited programs provide not only the hospital resources necessary for optimal care of morbidly obese patients, but also the support and resources that are necessary to address the entire spectrum of care and needs of bariatric patients, from the pre-hospital phase through the post operative care and treatment process.
“This is a tremendous achievement for the Medical Center’s weight loss surgery program,” said Helen Downey, RN, Chief Operating Officer of BMC. “The physicians, nurses and staff of our bariatric program have worked very hard to provide a program of the highest quality for our patients in the community who require bariatric surgery to greatly improve their health. Many of those who have had this procedure no longer require medications for the control of diabetes and hypertension.”
Andrew Lederman, MD, is the Medical Director of Bariatric Surgery. The program is coordinated by Dr. Lederman and Robert Fanelli, MD of Surgical Specialists of Western New England, and Jodi Szczepaniak, RN, Clinical Nurse Specialist and Coordinator for Bariatric Surgical Services at BMC. The comprehensive bariatric program at BMC provides gastric bypass and lap-band procedures.
Each hospital surveyed by the American College of Surgeons undergoes an onsite verification by experienced bariatric surgeons, who review the hospital’s structure, process and quality of data. Because high quality surgical care requires documentation using reliable measurements of outcomes, accredited bariatric surgery programs are required to report their outcomes data either to the ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program or the College’s BSCN database.
In the United States, more than 11 million people suffer from severe obesity, and the numbers continue to increase. Obesity increases the risks of morbidity and mortality because of the diseases and conditions that are commonly associated with it, such as type II diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, among other health risks. Currently, weight loss surgery provides the only effective, lasting relief from severe obesity.
According to the ACS, it is “of utmost importance to extend our quality initiatives to accrediting bariatric surgery programs so that we can assist the public in identifying those facilities that provide optimal surgical care for patients who undergo this surgical procedure.”

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