Section: News

Flagler Hospital Recognized for Quality, Cost-Effective Bariatric Surgery


Flagler Hospital Recognized for Quality, Cost-Effective Bariatric Surgery
Health care facility among first to receive new designation

April 30, 2015, St. Augustine, Florida – Florida Blue has recognized Flagler Hospital to receive a Blue Distinction® Center+ designation in the area of bariatric surgery by the Blue Distinction® Centers for Specialty Care program. Blue Distinction® Centers are nationally designated health care facilities shown to deliver quality specialty care based on objective measures, which were developed with input from the medical community, for patient safety and better health outcomes.

To receive a Blue Distinction Center+ for Bariatric Surgery designation, a health care facility must demonstrate success in meeting patient safety as well as bariatric-specific quality measures, including complications and readmissions, for gastric stapling and/or gastric banding procedures. A health care facility must also have earned national accreditations at both the facility level and the bariatric care-specific level, as well as demonstrate better cost efficiency relative to its peers.

Bariatric surgeries are among the most common elective surgeries in the U.S., which provides a significant opportunity to improve quality and efficiency within the health care system. There were 179,000 bariatric surgeries performed in 2013, according to the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, and the average cost is more than $28,000 per episode, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Furthermore, it is estimated that 72 million Americans are obese and 24 million suffer from morbid obesity, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The estimated annual health care costs of obesity-related illnesses are $190.2 billion, or nearly 21 percent of annual medical spending in the U.S., according to the Journal of Health Economics.

Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality providers for their specialty care needs in the areas of bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacements, spine surgery, and transplants while encouraging health care professionals to improve the care they deliver. For more information about the program and for a complete listing of the designated facilities, please visit

About Flagler Hospital
Flagler Hospital is a 335 bed, acute care hospital that has been named one of America's Top 100 Community Hospitals by Becker's Hospital Review for the past two consecutive years. The hospital has operated as a not-for-profit healthcare institution in St. Augustine, Florida since its founding in 1889. Consistently ranked among the top 5% of all hospitals in the nation for both clinical excellence and patient safety, Flagler Hospital has earned accreditation from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, is a nationally accredited Chest Pain Center, a Joint Commission Primary Stroke Care Center, holds national accreditation for its total hip and knee replacement programs, and Center of Excellence Designation for its Bariatric Surgery Center. For more information about all of the hospital's award-winning programs and services, log on to

About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 37 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for nearly 105 million members – one in three Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.

About Blue Distinction Centers
Blue Distinction Centers (BDC) met overall quality measures for patient safety and outcomes, developed with input from the medical community. Blue Distinction Centers+ (BDC+) also met cost measures that address consumers' need for affordable health care. Individual outcomes may vary. National criteria is displayed on