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Hospital Bariatric Center an official “Center of Excellence”

DAYTON, Ohio (August 29, 2019) – Miami Valley Hospital (MVH) was recently recognized as a Bariatric Center of Excellence by the UnitedHealthcare/Optum Program.

It is estimated that over 94 million Americans currently suffer from obesity which places them at greater risk for heart disease, stroke, type two diabetes, and certain types of cancer.  Though bariatric weight loss surgery is able to provide life-saving treatment to these patients, certain obstacles can make it difficult for them to obtain the care they need at an affordable cost.  Thankfully, access to this procedure has expanded even further for UnitedHealthcare patients within the Dayton area now that Miami Valley Hospital has achieved this prestigious designation.

“Bariatric surgery is unique since insurance companies require providers to be what is known as a center of excellence or accredited center from the American College of Surgeons,” said C. Joe Northup, MD, FACS, medical director of the MVH Bariatric Center. “Then, beyond that baseline, each individual insurance has its own center of excellence designation it requires in order for us to treat their patients.” 

Achieving a center of excellence designation can be a lengthy and rigorous process as insurers keep careful track of the number of bariatric procedures being done at a practice along with follow up procedures, outcomes, and complication rates.  For Miami Valley Hospital, that designation process began in 2018 after UnitedHealthcare and Premier Health entered into a new multi-year relationship which would ensure access for UnitedHealthcare patients to the hospital’s physicians and facilities.   

“Access to care is one of our top priorities, which makes this accreditation that much more rewarding to the patients we serve, and the providers who have dedicated themselves to bariatric surgery at our Miami Valley Hospital locations,” said Michael Uhl, MSN, MBA, president of Miami Valley Hospital.

The result has also raised the standard of care for Premier Weight Loss Solutions as a practice, which is a part of Premier Physician Network.

“We’ve used this opportunity to revamp the patient education process,” Dr. Northup said. “We've also added non-surgical weight loss treatment options to reach a larger number of patients.  Best of all, we have excellent weight-loss outcomes along with extremely low complication rates, and we provide exceptional follow-up and education for each of our patients.”

This patient-centric model offers an enormous benefit for UnitedHealthcare patients who may have been interested in exploring weight loss surgery in the past, but haven’t done so because their options were limited.  As obesity cases continue to rise, insurers have made bariatric care more accessible by lowering their Body Mass Index (BMI) requirements for treatment since it significantly lowers one’s risk of diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol to name a few.

“Our profession has seen insurance companies lower their BMI thresholds because of the dramatic impact that this surgery has, not only upon a patient’s health and way of life, but upon the long-term cost of care,” Dr. Northup said.  “Now we are thrilled to be able to offer this same service to UnitedHealthcare patients throughout the region.”

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