ALBANY, N.Y., August 18, 2006—Albany Medical Center’s bariatric surgery program (surgical weight reduction) is one of only three programs in New York State and only a dozen in the United States to earn accreditation status from the prestigious American College of Surgeons (ACS)—the highest level of hospital achievement in bariatric care. As a designated bariatric surgery center, Albany Med is capable of managing the most challenging and complex bariatric patients with optimal opportunity for safe and effective outcome.
“Our program’s designation as an accredited center for bariatric surgery is representative of our high standards of quality, safety and reporting, and is a testament to the dedication of the physicians, nurses and staff involved,” said Steven Stain, M.D., chair of the department of surgery at the Albany Medical Center. “This designation serves as reinforcement to our patients that they are receiving bariatric care from a national leader.”
As an accredited program, Albany Med also qualifies for new Medicare coverage guidelines for bariatric surgery procedures. Eligible patients seeking bariatric surgical care may qualify for coverage under the terms set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Established in 1984, Albany Med’s bariatric program offers all three weight loss procedures. Open gastric bypass, minimally invasive gastric bypass and minimally invasive gastric banding.
Minimally invasive gastric bypass and minimally invasive gastric banding are performed by T. Paul Singh, M.D., director of minimally invasive surgery at Albany Med. Both Dr. Singh and Carl Rosati, M.D., director of Albany Med’s bariatric surgery program, perform the traditional open gastric bypass. Jennifer Lindstrom, M.D., has recently been recruited to serve as medical director. The program utilizes a multidisciplinary and humanist approach to care for patients. Six months before surgery, patients are required to consult with a physician, dietician or nutritionist and begin a reduced calorie diet as well as an exercise program. Patients also begin a behavior modification program by a trained health professional. These interventions continue after surgery in an effort to apply a comprehensive approach to the lifestyle change the surgery requires. A weekly support group is also available for patients before and after surgery.
The ACS’s Bariatric Surgery Center Network Accreditation Program was established to improve quality and facilitate access to care for morbidly obese patients. Institutions providing weight loss surgery must have certain commitment, organization, leadership, human resources, and physical resources to provide optimal care. The health care team must have the necessary training, skills, and experience, and offer reliable documentation of outcomes.
According to the ACS, more than 11 million people suffer from severe obesity, which significantly increases the risks of morbidity and mortality due to its associated links with such diseases as type II diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, sleep apnea, gallbladder disease, fatty liver, osteoarthritis, and some forms of cancer.
Albany Medical Center, northeastern New York’s only academic health sciences center, has a mission of providing excellence in medical education, biomedical research and patient care.
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