Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) has recognized FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital 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.

To receive a Blue Distinction Center+ for Bariatric Surgery designation, a health care facility must be nationally accredited at both the facility and bariatric program-specific levels while demonstrating success in meeting patient safety measures as well as bariatric-specific quality measures. A healthcare facility must also demonstrate cost-efficiency compared to its peers.

To be considered eligible for the Blue Distinction Center+ designation, healthcare facilities must first meet the Blue Distinction’s nationally established, objective quality measures. Blue Distinction Centers for Bariatric Surgery program recently expanded to include not only the type of service provided but also the site of care. Healthcare facilities were evaluated as either a comprehensive center or as an ambulatory surgery center.

“FirstHealth is honored to be recognized by Blue Cross NC for meeting the rigorous Blue Distinction Center+ quality and cost selection criteria for bariatric surgery set by the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program,” says John F. Krahnert, M.D., chief medical officer for FirstHealth of the Carolinas. “For almost 20 years, the surgeons and staff of our bariatric program have helped nearly 2,000 patients take control of their weight and improve their lives. This distinction recognizes the high quality, compassionate care we provide.”

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

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 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. 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 American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

“We congratulate FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital on receiving recognition for providing high-quality care and helping our members better manage their care through the Blue Distinction Specialty Care Program,” says John Smith, Lead Medical Director at Blue Cross NC.

Healthcare facilities recognized with this designation are assessed using a combination of publicly available quality information and cost measures derived from BCBS companies’ medical claims.

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 healthcare professionals to improve the care they deliver.

Research shows that, compared to other healthcare facilities, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients. On average, Blue Distinction Centers+ are also 20 percent more cost-efficient than non-Blue Distinction Center+ designated facilities.

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

In addition to the Blue Distinction® Center+ for Bariatric Surgery designation, Moore Regional’s bariatric program has been accredited as a comprehensive center under the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP), a joint program of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

For more information about the program, visit or call (800) 213-3284.

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