Wednesday, 20 January 2021 13:40

Moore Regional’s weight-loss surgery program recognized as Blue Distinction Center

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Dr. Raymond Washington, medical director of Moore Regional’s bariatric program Dr. Raymond Washington, medical director of Moore Regional’s bariatric program

PINEHURST — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has recognized FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital with a Blue Distinction Center + for Bariatric Surgery designation, as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. Initially designated in 2018, this is the second consecutive time Moore Regional has achieved the honor.


Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated health care facilities that show expertise in delivering improved patient safety and better health outcomes based on objective measures that were developed with input from the medical community. The designation is renewed every three years.

To receive a Blue Distinction Centers+ for Bariatric Surgery designation, a health care facility must be nationally accredited at both the facility and bariatric program-specific levels while demonstrating success in meeting patient safety measures, as well as bariatric-specific quality measures. A health care facility must also demonstrate cost efficiency compared to its peers. 

Only health care facilities that meet Blue Distinction’s nationally established, objective quality measures will be considered for designation. Additionally, health care facilities must demonstrate success in meeting bariatric-specific quality measures, including complication and readmission rate for laparoscopic procedures in sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass and adjustable gastric band. 

“FirstHealth is honored to once again be recognized by Blue Cross NC for meeting the rigorous Blue Distinction Center+ quality and cost criteria for bariatric surgery,” says Raymond Washington, M.D., medical director of Moore Regional’s bariatric program. “Bariatric surgery is life changing and we are proud to have helped more than 2,000 patients take control of their weight.”

Bariatric surgeries are among the most common elective surgeries in the U.S., with more than 252,000 bariatric surgeries performed in 2018 based on a report from the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 42.7 percent of U.S. adults, and 18.5 percent of youth, are obese and impacted by obesity-related health conditions. With obesity reaching epidemic levels among U.S. adults, a significant opportunity exists to improve quality care for bariatric surgeries. 

“Achieving the Blue Distinction for Bariatric Surgery designation is an important milestone and we congratulate FirstHealth on this achievement,” says Dr. Larry Wu, the Blue Cross NC medical director. “When our members see the designation, they know that FirstHealth shares Blue Cross NC’s commitment to improving access to quality, effective specialty care.” 

Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality specialty care in the areas of bariatric surgery, cancer care, cardiac care, cellular immunotherapy, fertility care, gene therapy, knee and hip replacement, maternity care, spine surgery, substance use treatment and recovery and transplants, while encouraging health care professionals to improve the care they deliver. Research shows that, compared to other health care facilities, those designated as Blue Cross Distinction centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes. 

For more information about the program and for a complete listing of the designated facilities, visit bcbs.com/bluedistinction. 

In addition to the Blue Distinction Center+ for Bariatric Surgery designation, Moore Regional’s bariatric program has been accredited as a comprehensive center under the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program, a joint program of the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. For more information about the program, visit www.NCWeightLossSurgery.org or call (800) 213-3284.