Home Lifestyle Metabolic & Weight Management Center earns 3rd Center of Excellence designation

Metabolic & Weight Management Center earns 3rd Center of Excellence designation

Metabolic and Weight Management Center. Photo by FirstHealth

SOUTHERN PINES — The Metabolic & Weight Management Center’s bariatric surgery program has received designation as a bariatric Center of Excellence by Optum for the third consecutive year.

Optum is a health care services group that operates across 150 countries and offers data-driven support and expertise to health care employers, government organizations, health plans, providers and pharmacy care services.

To earn Optum Center of Excellence distinction, bariatric surgery programs must meet rigorous criteria for annual volume of surgeries, certifications, complications and mortality rate, length of program existence and experience of surgeons.

The Metabolic & Weight Management Center is a collaborative partnership between Pinehurst Surgical Clinic, FirstHealth of the Carolinas and Pinehurst Medical Clinic. The Center is located at 300 Pavilion Way, Suite 102 in Southern Pines. Medical weight management services are available to patients alongside weight-loss surgery. General and bariatric surgeons with the Metabolic Center, Raymond Washington, M.D. and David Grantham, M.D. have spearheaded the success of the bariatric program at FirstHealth.

From left: Dr. David Grantham, Dr. Raymond Washington and Dr.Alex Bonnecaze.

Dr. Washington, medical director for the FirstHealth Pinehurst Surgical Clinic bariatrics program, expressed his excitement to receive the designation for a third year.

“We are proud to be named a Center of Excellence by Optum,” he said. “It is a tribute to our staff and our multidisciplinary efforts to achieve great patient outcomes and is hopefully a distinction that will help us serve our patients better. This recognition helps patients find a bariatric program with a proven track record of success in helping patients in their weight loss journey.”

Optum bariatric COEs have 19 percent lower mortality rate and 30 percent lower inpatient hospital readmission rate when compared to non-COE providers.


Bariatric surgeries are among the most common elective surgeries in the United States, with more than 262,000 bariatric surgeries performed in 2021 based on a report from the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).
Dr. Grantham, a surgeon with Pinehurst Surgical Clinic, recognized the remarkable team at the Metabolic Center and their strong commitment to patient care.

“The Optum Center of Excellence award exhibits the great care patients receive at the Metabolic Center,” Dr. Grantham said. “It takes a lot of work from the whole multidisciplinary team to achieve such results. I am proud to be a member of that great team. Helping patients with obesity and its associated comorbidities live healthier and longer lives is an honor.”

Alex Bonnecaze, M.D., an endocrinology and obesity medicine physician with Pinehurst Medical Clinic who serves as part of the interdisciplinary team at the Metabolic & Weight Management Center, expressed his enthusiasm for the collaboration among healthcare professionals and organizations.

“Offering bariatric surgery as a quality health care option requires specialized facilities, skilled health care professionals and support services. When this is accomplished through incredible collaboration, a stronger health care infrastructure is built for our community,” Dr. Bonnecaze said.

In addition to the Optum COE designation, the bariatric program has received a Blue Distinction Center+ for Bariatric Surgery designation by Blue Cross and Blue Shield. It has also been accredited as a comprehensive center under the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP), a joint program of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

For more information about the program, visit www.WeightLossNC.org or call 910-725-7966.

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