West Virginia University Hospitals’ Ruby Memorial has been named a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. The designation recognizes surgical programs with a demonstrated track record of favorable outcomes in surgery for obesity.

“We’re very proud of this recognition,” Bruce McClymonds, president and CEO of WVUH, said. “The bariatric team worked diligently with people from across the hospital to achieve the Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence designation. It recognizes our commitment to providing the highest quality of care to our patients.”

According to a report released in 2007 by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the number of bariatric surgeries grew from 16,000 procedures in 1992 to 170,000 in 2005. At WVUH, Ehab Akkary, M.D., director of bariatric and advanced laparoscopic surgery, has performed approximately 250 procedures since taking over the program in June 2008. He has a roster of nearly 300 patients in various stages of completing pre-operative requirements for surgery.

Armed with clinical evidence that the most experienced and best-run bariatric surgery programs have the lowest rates of complications, the ASMBS Bariatric Surgery 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 Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence designation, WVUH 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. During these visits, surveyors held discussions with WVUH leadership and conducted interviews with Dr. Akkary, the bariatric team, nursing staff and patients and families.

“Our team’s mission in achieving this designation was to make sure WVUH could provide the highest level of care not only to bariatric surgery patients but to bariatric patients in general,” Akkary said. “To accomplish that, we made sure that we had the necessary equipment as well as a highly trained and dedicated nursing staff.”

Surgical Review Corp., an organization dedicated to pursuing surgical excellence, formulates and establishes the rigorous standards with which Bariatric Surgery Centers of Excellence must comply, and inspects and evaluates each candidate for designation. Upon review, it recommends approval of designation for physicians and facilities whose practices and outcomes meet the stringent demands set forth by SRC for ASBMS.

Bariatric surgery, when performed correctly, can help obese patients manage various chronic conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

“This is a life-changing surgery,” Akkary said. “It isn’t about losing weight. It’s about improving overall health.”

For more information on bariatric surgery at WVUH, see http://health.wvu.edu/services/bariatric-surgery/index.aspx.


CONTACT: Angela Jones, HSC News Service
304-293-7087; jonesan@wvuh.com