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Bariatric Surgery

Center of Excellence

West Penn Bariatric Center - Center of Excellence

Since  initial accreditation by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and designation by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASBS), our bariatric surgery program has annually received national recognitions for excellence.  Our excellence in clinical care and the results of our scholarly and research work have received positive attention from professionals and in the media:


American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) Center of Excellence Designation

Our program received initial "Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence" designation from the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) in 2006 and redesignation in 2010.

The ASMBS Center of Excellence designation recognizes surgical programs with a demonstrated track record of favorable outcomes in bariatric surgery.  Designation is based on an extensive documentation review of outcomes data and a site visit during which all aspects of the surgical program are closely evaluated.

The review assesses the skill of the surgeons involved, the quality of the hospital in which those operations are performed, and the bariatric surgery center's ability to help patients cope with the significant emotional and lifestyle changes through a multidisciplinary approach that includes psychological, nutritional and educational support.

"We are pleased to have recieved this designation three times from the ASMBS," Dr. Gagné said. "The designation confirms the high quality of care that we deliver to our patients, beginning with our pre-operative evaluation and counseling procedures and moving through the operation to the extensive postoperative follow-up process."

Because of the obesity epidemic, more and more people are turning to bariatric surgery. Faced with clinical evidence that the most experienced and best-run bariatric surgery programs have by far the lowest rates of complications, the ASMBS Centers of Excellence program was created to recognize bariatric surgery centers that perform well and to help surgeons and hospitals continue to improve the quality and safety of care provided.

The designation is significant in that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ruled that Medicare will only cover bariatric surgery performed at a designated Center of Excellence.

About the ASMBS
The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) is the largest society for this specialty in the world. Founded in 1983, foremost American surgeons have formed the society's leadership and have established an excellent organization with educational and support programs for surgeons and allied health professionals. The purpose of the society is to advance the art and science of metabolic and bariatric surgery by continued encouragement of its members to pursue investigations in both the clinic and the laboratory; interchange ideas, information and experience pertaining to bariatric surgery; promote guidelines for ethical patient selection and care; develop educational programs for physicians, paramedical persons, and lay people; and promote outcome studies and quality assurance.


HealthGrades #1 Bariatric Surgery Program in Pennsylvania

West Penn Allegheny Bariatric Surgery Named 5-Star Program by
HealthGrades for Sixth Year in a Row

June 21, 2011, Pittsburgh, Pa.  – HealthGrades today granted a 5-star ranking to West Penn Allegheny Bariatric Surgery, placing the program among the top hospitals in the nation for weight loss surgery.

Weight loss surgery patients at 5-star programs such as West Penn Allegheny have a nearly 70 percent lower risk of experiencing an in-hospital complication compared to a poorly rated hospital, according to HealthGrades.

The findings are from HealthGrades 2011 Bariatric Surgery Trends in American Hospitals report, which analyzed 193,518 bariatric surgery patient records from 2007 through 2009, including 468 hospitals in 19 states where data are publically available. Local hospital ratings and study methodology are available to consumers at HealthGrades.com.

Under the direction of Daniel J. Gagne, MD, FACS, FASMBS, West Penn Allegheny Bariatric Surgery also earned the designation of Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence from the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery in 2010 and achieved re-accreditation from the Bariatric Surgery Center Network Accreditation Program of the American College of Surgeons.

Dr. Gagne and Jorge E. Urbandt, MD, FACS, FASMBS, work with certified physician assistants, psychologists, dietitians and other employees to ensure that patients receive the most comprehensive care available. Drs. Gagne and Urbandt perform laparoscopic bariatric procedures, including gastric bypass, adjustable banding procedures, sleeve gastrectomy, and revisional weight loss surgery.

“We could not achieve these results without working together as a team, and this rating reflects on the hard work and dedication of everyone at West Penn Allegheny Bariatric Surgery,” Dr. Gagne said. “Seeing our patients embark on new lives after successful weight-loss surgery is always our greatest reward.”

The long-term benefits of bariatric surgery, also known as weight-loss surgery, include significant and sustainable long-term weight loss, resolution of diabetes, reduction in cardiovascular disease risk, and decreased mortality.

HealthGrades’ report helps patients identify long-term and short-term risks found in patients who opt for the surgery, and helps them identify the hospital programs in their area whose patient outcomes minimize the risks of such complications.

“Given the huge gap in quality between 5-star bariatric surgery programs and 1-star programs, choosing the right provider is critical,” said Dr. Rick May, HealthGrades Vice President of Accelerated Clinical Excellence. “The decision to undergo major surgery is never an easy one, and a procedure is never guaranteed to be complication-free. But with the help of HealthGrades bariatric surgery program ratings, patients can optimize their chances for receiving the highest possible quality of care.”

Key findings of the HealthGrades 2011 Bariatric Surgery Trends in American Hospitals report include the following:

  • Patients having bariatric surgery at 5-star hospitals are 69.70% less likely to experience in-hospital complications than patients at 1-star programs.
  • If all hospitals in the 19 states studied from 2007 through 2009 had performed at the level of 5-star hospitals, 5,231 patients could have potentially avoided a major in-hospital complication.
  • Patients having a bariatric procedure at a 5-star facility spent, on average, a half day less in the hospital compared to patients having their procedure at a 1-star facility (1.93 days versus 2.38 days respectively).

About HealthGrades
HealthGrades is America's most trusted, independent source of physician information and hospital quality outcomes. HealthGrades online properties are the nation's leading destination for physician search and empower more than 200 million consumers annually to make informed healthcare decisions.


Our Program in the News

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