JACKSON, Miss. — The University of Mississippi Medical Center’s bariatric surgery program has been accredited by the American College of Surgeons.
The national accolade comes from the College’s Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program. UMMC received notification of the accreditation this month, signifying that its program meets essential criteria for staffing, training and facility infrastructure and protocols for care, ensuring its ability to support patients with severe obesity.
The accreditation “also signifies our commitment to reporting our outcomes from surgery, and to ensure that those outcomes meet, or are better than, national averages,” said Dr. Kenneth Vick, associate professor of surgery and a key player in the growth of UMMC’s bariatric surgery program.
“Examples of data that we are required to report include reoperation rates, infection rates, death rates, and hospital readmissions after bariatric surgery,” Vick said. “These outcomes must continue to be met and will be reviewed on cycle to ensure continued accreditation.”
Bariatric surgery offers the morbidly obese the option of weight loss that’s more rapid than with conventional diets, and it can save the lives of patients who suffer from obesity-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Life expectancy and the quality of life are dramatically improved, and other related conditions such as acid reflux and sleep apnea can disappear totally.
Those patients include Chanci Stewart of Ridgeland, who feared she’d be dead within five years because of the health issues she suffered at 290 pounds.
Nine months after Vick performed her surgery, Stewart is 140 pounds lighter and feels great after undergoing a vertical-sleeve gastrectomy, also known as a gastric sleeve, in March 2015 at UMMC. She’s exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet, two lifestyle habits emphasized by the Medical Center’s bariatric surgery program.
“I get to see my kids grow up,” the mom of four said.
The Medical Center’s bariatric surgery program, a collaboration with the UMMC-based Mississippi Center for Obesity Research, in 2015 completed 60 surgeries, including 55 vertical-sleeve gastrectomies, three adjustable gastric bands, and two gastric bypasses. “We hope that receiving this accreditation will expand our role in the state as a leader in health care,” Vick said.
Centers receiving accreditation must ensure that their bariatric surgical patients receive a multidisciplinary program, not just a surgical procedure, which improves patient outcomes and long-term success. Accredited centers offers preoperative and postoperative care designed specifically for their severely obese patients.
The new accreditation, Vick said, “also expands access to bariatric surgery for our patients, as many insurance organizations require this designation for coverage of services.
“Patients can expect safe, compassionate, efficient care when they choose our program, and know that UMMC has all of the resources and personnel to deliver the best possible care for obese patients 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year,” he said.
For information on UMMC’s bariatric surgery and weight management programs, go to https://www.ummchealth.com/weight/ or https://www.umc.edu/education/schools/medicine/clinical_science/surgery/clinical_services(surgery)/bariatric_surgery.aspx