Saratoga Hospital Recognized for High-Quality Bariatric Surgery Care

N E W S   R E L E A S E


April 3, 2018

Saratoga Hospital Recognized for High-Quality Bariatric Surgery Care

Local Institute Receives National Designation as Blue Distinction® Center+


SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, April 3, 2018 – BlueShield of Northeastern New York has recognized Saratoga Hospital with a Blue Distinction® Center+ designation for Bariatric Surgery as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. The Saratoga Bariatric Surgery and Weight-Loss Program at Saratoga Hospital, located at 1 West Avenue, Suite 300 in Saratoga Springs, New York, is the only program in the Saratoga region to have earned this national distinction.

“The Bariatric Team was  elated  when we heard the news,” said Dmitri Baranov, MD, PhD, FACS, medical director of the Saratoga Bariatric Surgery and Weight-Loss Program. “We have earned the Blue Distinction® Center for the last three years, but to earn the ‘plus’ distinction this year is a true testament to the quality, safety and care our dedicated team has been consistently providing for our patients at every stage of their weight-loss journey. This recognition is quite special, and we could not be more proud.”

Since June of 2013, the Saratoga Bariatric Surgery and Weight Loss Program has performed hundreds of successful bariatric procedures annually. This comprehensive program offers the most modern laparoscopic surgical options available as well as non-surgical weight loss options, including the Intragastric Balloon. The program is also the first in the region to offer Body Composition Analysis for its bariatric patients, which began last year. It is this level of dedication to providing the best resources, expertise and care for patients that are among the many factors that have contributed to the earning of the BDC+ distinction.

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 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, as well as demonstrated cost-efficiency compared to its peers.

The Saratoga Bariatric Surgery and Weight-Loss Program at Saratoga Hospital’s national accreditation as a comprehensive bariatric facility was granted in 2014 by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program. The MBSAQIP accreditation is set by the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. 

“The Blue Distinction® Center+ designation for Bariatric Surgery assures patients that we meet the highest national standards, have excellent outcomes and are vested in our patients’ success and satisfaction,” said Dr. Richard Falivena, vice president and chief medical and physician integration officer at Saratoga Hospital. “Ultimately, it’s all about compassionate care, patient safety, and quality results, which the program has achieved under Dr. Baranov’s leadership.”

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.

The Saratoga Bariatric Surgery & Weight-Loss Program is a comprehensive center that serves patients from across the Greater Capital Region of New York State, including Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Glens Falls and the North Country, as well as Western Massachusetts and Vermont.

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.

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. 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

For more information about the Saratoga Bariatric Surgery & Weight-Loss Program or its support group, please call (518) 693-4699 or visit


About Saratoga Hospital: Saratoga Hospital is the Saratoga region’s leading healthcare provider and the only acute-care facility in Saratoga County. With a medical staff of more than 450 providers, the hospital offers care in a broad range of medical specialties at more than 20 locations including its Wilton campus and the Saratoga Medical Park at Malta. The Saratoga Hospital Medical Group ensures easy access to services that can have the greatest impact on both individual and community health. In keeping with its emphasis on quality, Saratoga Hospital was the first in the Capital Region to earn Magnet designation for nursing excellence. On Jan. 1, 2017, Saratoga Hospital finalized its affiliation with Albany Medical Center, joining Columbia Memorial Health in creating a regionally integrated, locally governed healthcare system. For more information: or

About BlueShield of Northeastern New York: BlueShield of Northeastern New York is a division of HealthNow New York Inc., an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. Since 1946, BlueShield has helped millions of people lead healthier lives. BlueShield offers a full range of insured, self-insured, and government programs and services covering businesses, families, and individuals, as well as life and disability coverage, dental and vision plans, and stop loss coverage. As a community-based, not-for-profit health plan, BlueShield contributes significantly to organizations that promote physical health, community health, and our region’s health.  For up-to-date news, facts, and information about the company, leadership, and industry, please visit the BlueShield News Center at or follow us on Twitter.

About BlueCross BlueShield Association
The BlueCross BlueShield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based, and locally operated BlueCross and BlueShield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans. The BlueCross BlueShield Association provides health care insights through The Health of America Report series and the national BCBS Health Index. For more information the BlueCross BlueShield Association and its member companies, please visit We also encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter, and visit our blog.

About Blue Distinction Centers

Blue Distinction Centers (BDC) met overall quality measures for patient safety and outcomes, developed with input from the medical community. A Local Blue Plan may require additional criteria for providers located in its own service area; for details, contact your Local Blue Plan. Blue Distinction Centers+ (BDC+) also met cost measures that address consumers’ need for affordable health care. Each provider’s cost of care is evaluated using data from its Local Blue Plan. Providers in CA, ID, NY, PA, and WA may lie in two Local Blue Plan areas, resulting in two evaluations for cost of care; and their own Local Blue Plans decide whether one or both cost of care evaluation(s) must meet BDC+ national criteria. National criteria for BDC and BDC+ are displayed on Individual outcomes may vary. For details on a provider’s in-network status or your own policy’s coverage, contact your Local Blue Plan and ask your provider before making an appointment. Neither BlueCross and BlueShield Association nor any Blue Plans are responsible for non-covered charges or other losses or damages resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers.




Peter Hopper
Director, Marketing and Communications
Saratoga Hospital

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