The University of Maryland's Center for Weight Management and Wellness has earned the prestigious Center of Excellence designation from the American College of Surgeons (ACS) for its bariatric surgery program, led by Mark Kligman, M.D.
Dr. Kligman, the director of the center, is also an assistant professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
The Center for Weight Management and Wellness and Dr. Kligman were awarded the designation, which is good for three years, after an extensive review of outcomes data, as well as a site visit during which all aspects of the program were evaluated.
The goal of bariatric surgery is to get morbidly obese patients to a healthy weight through the use of surgical interventions. The most common procedure performed by Dr. Kligman is Roux-en-Y surgery, or gastric bypass, in which the stomach is divided, and a small pouch is formed as simultaneously the majority of the stomach is sealed off. A portion of the small intestine is then divided and sewn to the newly created small stomach pouch. The size of the pouch limits the calories that can be taken in on a daily basis to less than 1,000 and also limits the body’s ability to absorb calories.
In preparing to welcome another Center of Excellence to the hospital, the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) made a variety of critical additions. A special wing was created for bariatric surgery patients and other patients of larger size. Each of the 32 rooms on Weinberg 5, which are all private, have doorways that open wider as needed, extra-sturdy bathroom fixtures that are floor-mounted to support post-surgical patients who might need to lean on them, and a loveseat that folds flat for family members who want to stay overnight with the patient. The furniture is bigger, sturdier and generously built for the comfort and safety of bariatric patients and their families. "The quality of the rooms is better than most hospitals. And the number of rooms is definitely greater than any hospital around," says Dr. Kligman.
Support groups, both online and in-person, were made available to patients, as were the services of a nutritionist. A second surgeon was added to the practice. And nurses were specially trained to deal with obese patients. UMMC then voluntarily applied for the ACS accreditation, which was awarded the first time the program was reviewed.
"The reviewers seemed very satisfied as they were going through things; it was clear that we were doing very well," says Dr. Kligman. "It was absolutely worth all the work we had to do to achieve this accreditation. It demonstrates to patients and to our colleagues that we meet the standards necessary to achieve excellent outcomes in doing this surgery in this patient population."
The newly-renovated briatric rooms are all private and have extra space to accommodate larger patients and their families.
This award not only distinguishes the bariatric surgery program as a Center of Excellence, but demonstrates that excellence is built through teamwork. While this award provides direct recognition to the bariatrics team, there was a tremendous involvement from nursing leadership, Medical Center leadership, business development, and facilities management.
“The real point to achieve recognition as an ACS BSCN program is that it demonstrates the commitment of the whole organization--not just a group of individuals--to the care of the obese,” said Dr. Kligman. “This concept of a team approach to care has been used in cancer and trauma to achieve consistent outstanding results and will do the same for bariatric surgery.”
For more information about the accreditation process.