Where Did Center of Excellence Go
By Ronayne Herbert, RNP
In April 2012, the American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgeons merged to create the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program. The new entity joined these two strong organizations and put everyone “on the same page” as far as what bariatric surgeons and programs are looking for in quality. In the meantime, the Centers for Medicare Services no longer required Center of Excellence (COE) status for Medicare patients seeking bariatric surgery, as the data proved that bariatric surgery was a safe and effective tool to manage obesity.
The requirements for COE have been replaced by various types of accredited centers such as a Comprehensive Center, which performs several types of bariatric surgery to adjustable gastric band only centers. The new designation levels “allow for greater participation by a broader range of metabolic and bariatric centers in this national accreditation and quality improvement effort”. Each of these types of centers have specific requirements they must meet and they must also undergo a rigorous site review every three years. An additional requirement is that each center must perform at least one quality initiative per year which spurs individual programs toward excellence.
All data related to bariatric surgery is submitted to the national MBSAQIP databank and programs receive a semi-annual review of their data in relationship to national benchmarks. Once a program is fully accredited they can use the term “MBSAQIPAccreditedCenter” to mark this distinction. Therefore, it is important for those who are seeking bariatric care to understand that when they see MBSAQIP, the center has met the benchmarks of excellence.