PINEHURST — The FirstHealth Bariatric Center, a surgical weight-loss program at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, has earned a three-year reaccreditation 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.
Founded in 1983, ASMBS was formed to advance the art and science of metabolic and bariatric surgery by continually improving the quality and safety of care and treatment of people with obesity and related diseases through educational and support programs for surgeons and integrated health professionals.
The MBSAQIP accreditation process requires compliance with a vigorous set of quality standards and successful completion of an on-site visit and survey by a MBSAQIP bariatric surgeon surveyor who reviews the program’s structure, processes and clinical outcomes data. A Comprehensive Center must have performed a minimum of 50 procedures and track in detail all quality measures in a national data registry.
“Designated centers that meet the standards demonstrate a level of expertise, providing safe, efficacious and high-quality care to bariatric patients,” said FirstHealth Bariatric Center Program Manager Melissa Herman, R.D., LDN, CDE. “Studies have shown that the mortality rates at non-accredited facilities are, on average, three times greater than the mortality rates at accredited facilities, so it’s important that patients and referring physicians seek out an accredited program like ours.”
MBSAQIP Standards, as outlined in the “Resources for Optimal Care of the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Patient 2014,” ensure that bariatric surgical patients receive a multidisciplinary program, not just a surgical procedure, which improves patient outcomes and long-term success. An accredited center offers preoperative and postoperative care designed specifically for its severely obese patients.
“Our program uses a multidisciplinary approach, which includes not only surgeons, but a registered dietitian, licensed clinical social worker and dedicated nursing staff to assist patients through their individual journeys for long-term success,” adds Herman.
To earn MBSAQIP designation, a weight-loss program must meet essential criteria for staffing, training and facility infrastructure and protocols for care that ensure its ability to support patients with severe obesity. The specially trained surgeons and staff must also participate in meetings throughout the year to review outcomes.
In addition to Herman, the FirstHealth Bariatric Center team includes bariatric surgeons David Grantham, M.D., and Raymond Washington, M.D.; certified bariatric nurse Christi Embler, R.N.; licensed clinical social worker Melissa Risk; patient navigators Jolene Edwards and Angie Hewett; and a team of support staff.
The program has performed more than 1,800 surgeries since it started. For more information, visit www.NCWeightLossSurgery.org.