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Danbury Hospital Center for Weight Loss Surgery Achieves Accreditation from the Bariatric Surgery Network

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - Danbury, CT

Keith Zuccala M.D. and Laura Choi M.D.

Keith Zuccala, M.D.
Interim Co-Chair, Department of Surgery
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Laura Choi, M.D.
Medical Director, Center for Weight Loss Surgery
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The Center for Weight Loss Surgery at Danbury Hospital has been re-accredited as a Level A1 Center of Excellence facility by the Bariatric Surgery Center Network (BSCN) Accreditation Program of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). This three-year designation means that Danbury Hospital has met the essential criteria to deliver a full-service bariatric surgery care program and that its institutional performance meets the requirements outlined by the ACS BSCN Accreditation Program. Since launching its program in 2001, the Hospital has completed more than 2,000 bariatric surgeries, offering gastric bypass, gastric banding and gastric sleeve techniques, along with a support team dedicated to their patients’ long-term health and lifestyle improvements. The Center was the first Connecticut facility to achieve Level A1 Center of Excellence status (May 2006), and is one of only three Level A1-designated centers in the state. Since that time, Danbury Hospital has continued this high level of performance, producing some of the most favorable outcomes in the weight loss surgery industry.

Danbury Hospital’s Center for Weight Loss Surgery features two fellowship trained surgeons offering the most advanced laparoscopic techniques, including groundbreaking work in the development of micro-laparoscopic surgical procedures. They are Medical Director Laura Choi, M.D., who holds the Fred and Irmi Bering Chair in Laparoscopic Surgery, and Keith Zuccala, M.D., Interim Co-Chair, Department of Surgery, and the recipient of the Harold and Myra Spratt Chair in Minimally Invasive Surgery. Drs. Choi and Zuccala remain at the forefront of bariatric surgery, achieving exemplary outcomes recognized by the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program and working with a team of specialists to help patients succeed with their long-term health goals.

Candidates for bariatric surgery include those individuals who are more than 100 pounds overweight – with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or have a BMI of 35 or higher and suffer from obesity-related medical conditions.

“We tailor each surgical experience to meet the unique medical needs of every individual,” said Dr. Choi. “Surgery is just one step in the path toward a lifetime of good health.”

“Research shows weight loss surgery can prolong life, and many health problems improve or disappear following surgery, but only if the patient remains committed to maintaining a stringent weight management regimen routine. Our team is on hand every step of the way with follow-up care, support groups, exercise programs and more to help our patients make lasting lifestyle changes,” Dr. Choi added.

Established by the American College of Surgeons in 2005 in an effort to extend established quality improvement practices to all disciplines of surgical care, the ACS BSCN Accreditation Program provides confirmation that a bariatric surgery center has demonstrated its commitment to providing the highest quality care for its bariatric surgery patients. Accredited bariatric surgery centers provide not only the hospital resources necessary for optimal care of morbidly obese patients, but also the support and resources that are necessary to address the entire spectrum of care and needs of bariatric patients, from the prehospital phase through the postoperative care and treatment process.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has recognized Danbury Hospital and allows expanded Medicare coverage of bariatric surgery for beneficiaries of all ages who have been diagnosed with other health problems associated with obesity. Medicare coverage has been limited to procedures performed in facilities certified by the American College of Surgeons or the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery.

There are four categories of accreditation for inpatient facilities (Level 1a, 1b, 2a, and 2b) and one level for outpatient surgical care facilities. Each category has specific criteria that must be met by a facility seeking that level of accreditation. Each hospital undergoes onsite verification by experienced bariatric surgeons, who review the center’s structure, process, and quality of data using the current ACS Bariatric Surgery Center Network Accreditation Program Manual as a guideline in conducting the survey. Because high-quality surgical care requires documentation using reliable measurements of outcomes, accredited bariatric surgery centers are required to report their bariatric surgery outcomes data either to the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) or the College’s BSCN Database, using a Web-based data entry system.

In the United States, more than 11 million people suffer from severe obesity, and the numbers continue to increase.Obesity increases the risks of morbidity and mortality because of the diseases and conditions that are commonly associated with it, such as type II diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, among other health risks. At the present time, weight-loss surgery provides the only effective, lasting relief from severe obesity. Therefore, the ACS believes it is of utmost importance to extend its quality initiatives to accrediting bariatric surgery centers so that it can assist the public in identifying those facilities that provide optimal surgical care for patients who undergo this surgical procedure.

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational association of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical education and practice and to improve the care of the surgical patient. Its achievements have placed it at the forefront of American surgery and have made the College an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 77,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world.

About Western Connecticut Health Network

Western Connecticut Health Network is the region’s premiere, patient-centered health care organization serving residents of Western Connecticut and adjacent New York. The organization is anchored by two nationally recognized hospitals, Danbury Hospital and New Milford Hospital, as well as their affiliated organizations. In addition to the two hospitals, the continuum of care offered includes the following affiliates:

Western Connecticut Health Network has centers of excellence in women’s health, cardiovascular and cancer services; minimally invasive and joint and spine surgery; digestive disorders and radiology and diagnostic imaging. It also offers specialized programs for neonatology with a Level IIIb neonatal intensive care unit and accredited sleep disorder centers. Both hospitals also maintain active clinical research programs, offering clinical trials for patients with cancer and other health concerns.

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