BMH Recognized for Higher Quality in Bariatric Surgery

BLACKFOOT, Idaho – July 17, 2018 – Bingham Memorial’s Weight Loss Center is the No. 1 choice for patients throughout Eastern Idaho seeking surgical and nonsurgical treatments for severe obesity and its related conditions. Since 2012, they have been the only accredited Bariatric Center of Excellence in Eastern Idaho, and they are recognized nationally for the highest standards in bariatric surgery.

Recently, Regence BlueShield of Idaho and Blue Cross recognized Bingham Memorial Hospital (BMH) with a Blue Distinction® Center for Bariatric Surgery designation as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated health care facilities that show expertise in delivering improved patient safety and better health outcomes, based on objective measures that were developed with input from the medical community.

“We are extremely proud to be recognized by Regence BlueShield of Idaho and Blue Cross for meeting the rigorous Blue Distinction Center quality selection criteria for bariatric surgery set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program,” said Tammy Fouse, DO, bariatric and general surgeon at BMH. “For more than a decade, the surgeons and staff at Bingham Memorial have been helping Idahoans take control of their weight and improve their lives. This distinction recognizes our on-going dedication to delivering high quality, caring, and compassionate care.”

To receive a Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery designation, a health care facility must demonstrate success in meeting patient safety measures as well as bariatric-specific quality measures, including complication and readmission rate for laparoscopic procedures in sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass and adjustable gastric band. A health care facility must also be nationally accredited at both the facility and bariatric program-specific levels.

In 2017, the Blue Distinction Centers for Bariatric Surgery program expanded to include not only the type of service provided, but also the site of care. Health care facilities were evaluated as either a comprehensive center or as an ambulatory surgery center.

“Everyone worked so hard for us to receive this prestigious distinction,” says Dr. Fouse. “While we provide both nonsurgical and surgical treatment options, we recognize that when a patient qualifies for a surgical weight-loss option, it is only the first step toward healthy living. Our team is committed to providing the dietary, exercise, and mental health care that is also necessary for recovery. By helping people take the first step on their weight-loss journey to return to a healthy weight, I’ve seen patients who can get to a point where they can finally stop taking high blood pressure medications, put diabetes into remission, and even get to a healthy weight so they can have a knee or hip replacement.”

Bariatric surgeries are among the most common elective surgeries in the U.S., which provides significant opportunity to improve quality within the health care system. There were 196,000 bariatric surgeries performed in 2015, according to the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), 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 nearly 36.5 percent of U.S. adults and 17 percent of youth are obese and impacted by obesity-related health conditions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The estimated annual health care costs of obesity-related conditions are nearly $210 billion per year in the U.S., according to the Journal of Health Economics. On average, health care costs were reduced by 29 percent within five years following bariatric surgery, due to the reduction or elimination of obesity-related conditions, according to ASMBS.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies across the nation have recognized more than 550 health care facilities as Blue Distinction Centers for Bariatric Surgery. Health care facilities recognized with this designation are assessed using a combination of publicly available quality information and cost measures derived from BCBS companies’ medical claims.

Press Release: BMH Recognized for Higher Quality in Maternity Care

About Regence BlueShield of Idaho
Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality specialty care in the areas of bariatric surgery, cancer care, cardiac care, maternity care, knee and hip replacements, spine surgery, and transplants, while encouraging health care professionals to improve the care they deliver. Research shows that, compared to other health care facilities, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients.

For more information about the program and for a complete listing of the designated facilities, please visit

Regence BlueShield of Idaho, based in Lewiston, has been serving Idahoans for over seven decades and now provides more than 140,000 members with comprehensive health insurance solutions. As a nonprofit mutual insurance company and independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Regence is part of a family of companies dedicated to transforming health care by delivering innovative products and services that change the way consumers in Idaho and nationwide experience health care. For more information, please visit, or

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