Our surgical weight loss program was created in 2002 and was recognized as a Center of Excellence by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery from 2005 to 2009. Since 2009, our program has been accredited through the American College of Surgeons as a Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program
, and was reaccredited in 2018.
This designation means that Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center has met the essential criteria that ensure it is fully capable of supporting a bariatric weight loss surgery care program and that its institutional performance meets the requirements outlined by the ACS BSCN Accreditation Program. Northern Light Surgical Weight Loss has been accredited since 2005, initially with the Surgical Review Corporation and now with the American College of Surgeons.
Established by the American College of Surgeons in 2005 in an effort to extend established quality improvement practices to all disciplines of surgical care, the ACS BSCN Accreditation Program provides confirmation that a bariatric surgery center has demonstrated its commitment to providing the highest quality care for its bariatric weight loss surgery patients. Accredited bariatric surgery weight loss centers provide not only the hospital resources necessary for optimal care of morbidly obese patients, but also the support and resources that are necessary to address the entire spectrum of care and needs of bariatric patients, from the pre-hospital phase through the postoperative care and treatment process.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has recognized Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center and allows expanded Medicare coverage of bariatric weight surgery for beneficiaries of all ages who have been diagnosed with other health problems associated with obesity. Medicare coverage has been limited to procedures performed in facilities certified by the American College of Surgeons or the American Society of Bariatric Surgery.
There are four categories of accreditation for inpatient facilities (Level 1a, 1b, 2a, and 2b) and one level for outpatient surgical care facilities. Each category has specific criteria that must be met by a facility seeking that level of accreditation. Each hospital undergoes an onsite verification by experienced bariatric surgeons, who review the center’s structure, process, and quality of data using the current ACS Bariatric Surgery Center Network Accreditation Program Manual as a guideline in conducting the survey. Because high-quality surgical care requires documentation using reliable measurements of outcomes, accredited bariatric surgery weight loss centers are required to report their bariatric weight surgery outcomes data either to the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) or the College’s BSCN Database, using a Web-based data entry system.
In the United States, more than 11 million people suffer from severe obesity, and the numbers continue to increase. Obesity increases the risks of morbidity and mortality because of the diseases and conditions that are commonly associated with it, such as type II diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease, among other health risks. At the present time, weight-loss surgery provides the only effective, lasting relief from severe obesity. Therefore, the ACS believes it is of utmost importance to extend its quality initiatives to accrediting bariatric surgery centers so that it can assist the public in identifying those facilities that provide optimal surgical care for patients who undergo this surgical procedure.
The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational association of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical education and practice and to improve the care of the surgical patient. Its achievements have placed it at the forefront of American surgery and have made the College an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 74,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world.