Surgical Weight Loss Center Receives National Quality & Affordability Recognitions

Sep 22, 2017

September 22, 2017 – Memphis, TN – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee has recognized Saint Francis Center for Surgical Weight Loss with a Blue Distinction Center Plus designation in the area of bariatric surgery as part of the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated healthcare facilities demonstrate more affordable care in addition to delivering quality specialty care, based on objective measures that were developed with input from the medical community, for patient safety and better health outcomes.

Saint Francis Center for Surgical Weight Loss has also been recognized as an Optum Health Center of Excellence for Bariatrics. Those who belong to the Optum bariatric Centers of Excellence (COEs) program perform more successful bariatric procedures than many other facilities nearby. The Optum COEs also have fewer complications and readmissions and are able to boost lower mortality, reoperation rate for bariatric procedures and average cost per surgical procedure.

Due to advancements in technology and designations like these, bariatric surgeries have become some of the safest surgical procedures. Gastric bypass is a procedure that can lessen and sometimes cure multiple conditions of obesity including diabetes, sleep apnea and hypertension. Obesity is epidemic affecting more than a third of Americans. In 2008, the estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion and the difference in medical costs between people who have obesity and those of normal weight was $1,429 higher..

"This designation is a testament to our highly skilled and experienced surgeon and staff who are dedicated to improving the health of our community," says Audrey Gregory, Ph.D., chief executive officer at Saint Francis Hospital-Memphis. "Our bariatrics team has seen dramatic changes in the health and lifestyles of thousands of patients. They work very hard to provide excellence in patient care, and this recognition is evidence of the high standard of care we deliver every day."

To receive a Blue Distinction Center Plus for Bariatric Surgery designation, a healthcare facility must demonstrate success in meeting patient safety as well as bariatric-specific quality measures, including complications and readmissions, weight loss surgical procedures. A healthcare facility must also have earned national accreditations at both the facility level and the bariatric care-specific level.

Quality in bariatric surgery is Optum's primary objective. Only bariatric programs that meet strict Optum clinical criteria, as determined through the initial and annual evaluation process, are included in their Center of Excellence network. Criteria includes volume and associated outcomes, stability of the team and management of the program, technological advances in the specific field of medical science, and overall commitment to its field through the synergy of multiple, related programs within the medical center.


About Saint Francis Hospital-Memphis
Saint Francis Hospital-Memphis is a 479-bed full service hospital located at 5959 Park Avenue in Memphis, Tenn.  Offering a wide array of medical services, Saint Francis is noted for its many Centers of Excellence, including its Center for Surgical Weight Loss, Joint & Spine Center, Heart & Vascular Center, Sleep Center, Chest Pain Emergency Center, and Surgical Services including its Center for Robotic Surgery, Diabetes Center, and Cancer Center.   The hospital has been recognized for excellence of care by United Healthcare, CIGNA, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and Aetna. Saint Francis Hospital serves as an academic training site for University of Tennessee Surgical, Family Practice, and Psychiatric Residents.  The hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the nation’s oldest and largest hospital accreditation agency.  To learn more about Saint Francis Hospital, visit

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