La Jolla, Calif. – Wittgrove Bariatric Center at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla announced today that it has been named an American Society for Bariatric Surgery (ASBS) Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence. The ASBS Center of Excellence designation recognizes surgical programs with a demonstrated track record of favorable outcomes in bariatric surgery.
According to a study released in July 2005 by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the number of U.S. bariatric surgeries more than quadrupled between 1998 and 2002 – from 13,386 to 71,733. Faced with clinical evidence that the most experienced and best-run bariatric surgery programs have by far the lowest rates of complications, the ASBS 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.
To earn a Center of Excellence designation, Wittgrove Bariatric Center underwent a series of site inspections during which all aspects of the program’s surgical processes were closely examined and data on health outcomes was collected. Wittgrove Bariatric Center and other centers receiving the Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence designation agree to continue to share information on clinical pathways, protocols and outcomes data.
“Due to the increasing prevalence of morbid obesity and the inherent risks and the opportunities available to greatly improve the health of this patient population, we recognize the need to implement a systematic approach to improving quality,” said Alan Wittgrove, M.D. “At Wittgrove Bariatric Center we believe that the ASBS Centers of Excellence program will serve as a catalyst, driving strong programs to get even better. We have done our part, and we urge our peers to join the effort.”
Surgical Review Corporation (SRC), an organization dedicated to pursuing surgical excellence, formulates and establishes the rigorous standards with which Wittgrove Bariatric Center**and other Centers of Excellence must comply, thoroughly inspects and evaluates each candidate for designation, and upon review recommends approval of designation for those physicians and facilities whose practices and outcomes meet the stringent demands set forth by SRC for ASBS.
Obesity has become a significant national health issue, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that 64 percent of all U.S. adults are overweight or obese. Morbid obesity is closely correlated with a number of serious conditions that severely undermine the health of overweight patients, including heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Bariatric surgery, when performed correctly, can help obese patients manage these conditions. By definition, surgeons with ASBS Center of Excellence designations practice only top-quality care, ensuring efficacy of the procedure with each patient to the best of their abilities. At Wittgrove Bariatric Center, surgeons demonstrate this willingness to take the extra step by offering a true multi-disciplinary team of highly experienced health professionals including a dedicated nursing team, psychologist, internist, insurance analysts, surgical coordinator, patient liaison, and fitness coordinator. In addition, Dr. Wittgrove pioneered the laparoscopic approach, performing the first laparoscopic gastric bypass as a primary surgeon in 1993. He and his staff have performed more than 5,000 bariatric procedures.
As a pioneering organization, designating Centers of Excellence based on top quality care and efficacious outcomes, the American Society for Bariatric Surgery, with the help of SRC, is working to align the common interests of patients, surgeons, hospitals and insurers, all of whom suffer when complications develop after surgical care.