Community Hospital earns bariatric designation

Chris Thomas
Chris Thomas

Community Hospital in Grand Junction has been designated as a bariatric center of excellence for meeting national standards for its surgical weight loss  program and other services for patients suffering from severe obesity.

Dr. Andrew Morse, director of metabolic and bariatric surgery, said the bariatric surgery center at Community Hospital has been accredited under the metabolic and bariatric surgery accreditation and quality improvement program, a joint program of the American College of Surgeons and American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. The designation encompasses adults and adolescents.

Chris Thomas, president and chief executive officer of  Community Hospital, praised the effort. “Dr. Morse and the surgical weight loss staff have worked tirelessly to earn this designation. We are extremely proud of the entire team.”

Community Hospital is the only hospital on the Western Slope and one of only five hospitals in Colorado to hold the adolescent accreditation designation.

“As the oldest bariatric surgery program on the Western Slope, we are excited to be recognized for our strengths,” Morse said. “Since 2009, we have been able to help hundreds of patients live happier and healthier lives.”

To earn the designation, Community Hospital met criteria for staffing, training and facility infrastructure and protocols for care, ensuring its ability to support patients with severe obesity. Accredited centers must offer a multidisciplinary approach as well as preoperative and postoperative care. Centers also participate in a national data registry that produces semiannual reports on the quality of processes and outcomes, identifying opportunities for improvement.

According to the National Institutes of Health, 15.5 million people in the United States suffer from severe obesity, and the numbers continue to increase. Obesity increases the risk of  death because of such associated conditions as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.