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Published on October 05, 2015

Saint Mary’s Hospital Recognized for Quality Bariatric Surgery

WATERBURY, Conn. (October 5, 2015) ─ Anthem BlueCross Blue Shield has recognized Saint Mary’s Hospital with a Blue Distinction® Center designation in the area of bariatric surgery as part of the Blue Distinction® Centers for Specialty Care program. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated healthcare facilities shown to deliver quality specialty care, based on objective measures that 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 healthcare facility must demonstrate success in meeting patient safety as well as bariatric-specific quality measures, including complications and readmissions, for gastric stapling and gastric banding procedures. A healthcare facility must also have earned national accreditations at both the facility level and the bariatric care-specific level.

Saint Mary’s is accredited by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP) and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

“Our goal is to bring our patients back to a healthy life,” said Dr. Aziz Richi, Vice Chairman of the Department of Surgery and Program Director, Bariatric Surgery. “The transformation that happens after bariatric surgery is amazing. We help patients move from being overweight and having to live with comorbidities such as diabetes and high blood pressure to living a normal life. That’s priceless. I’m very proud of this program and I think that having this designation will make it easier for patients to choose Saint Mary’s for their surgery. It highlights our commitment to quality and our expertise.”

Bariatric surgeries are among the most common elective surgeries in the U.S., which provides a significant opportunity to improve quality within the healthcare 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 healthcare 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.

Anthem BlueCross BlueShield named Saint Mary’s Hospital a Blue Distinction Center for two types of bariatric procedures, gastric stapling and gastric banding. To be considered for this designation, facilities must provide a full range of bariatric surgery care, including inpatient care, post-operative care, outpatient follow-up care and patient education.

Dr. Shady Macaron, a general surgeon who specializes in weight loss surgery, performs both gastric sleeve and gastric bypass procedures at Saint Mary’s Hospital with the aid of the daVinci Robotic Surgical System. “We are using anything that is new that can help enhance the safety of the procedure and improve the outcome for our patients,” Dr. Macaron said. “I’m so pleased that I can tell my patients about our ACS accreditation and this recognition from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, which shows that we are meeting the highest standards for care. I think it will help them to better manage their care and to know when they choose Saint Mary’s Hospital, they are making the best choice.”

Research shows that facilities designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients compared with their peers.

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 healthcare 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 Saint Mary’s Hospital

Saint Mary’s Health System is a leading regional healthcare provider anchored by Saint Mary’s Hospital, an acute care community teaching hospital that has served Greater Waterbury for more than 100 years. Licensed for 347 beds, Saint Mary’s is designated as a Level II Trauma Center, offers award-winning cardiac and stroke care and houses the region’s only pediatric emergency care unit. As the leading provider of surgical services in Greater Waterbury, Saint Mary’s was the first to introduce the daVinci® Robotic Surgery System. The health system’s satellites and affiliates extend from Waterbury to Wolcott, Naugatuck, Southbury, Prospect and Watertown. Visit for more information or follow us on Facebook at SaintMarysHospitalCT or Twitter at @SaintMarysCT.

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 healthcare 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 healthcare. Individual outcomes may vary. National criteria is displayed on A Local Blue Plan may require additional criteria for facilities located in its own service area. For details on Local Blue Plan Criteria, a provider’s in-network status, or your own policy’s coverage, contact your Local Blue Plan. Each facility’s cost of care is evaluated using data from its Local Blue Plan. Facilities in CA, ID, NY, PA, and WA may lie in two Local Blue Plans’ areas, resulting in two evaluations for cost of care; and their own Local Blue Plans decide whether one or both cost of care evaluation(s) must meet BDC+ national criteria. Neither Blue Cross Blue Shield Association nor any Blue Plans are responsible for damages or non-covered charges resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers.

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Jennifer Clement
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(203) 709-6240