Baptist Health Louisville Recognized with Blue Distinction Centers+ Designation for Quality and Cost-Efficiency in Bariatric Sur

March 12, 2021

The Blue Distinction Centers for Bariatric Surgery program provides a full range of bariatric surgery care.

March 11, 2021 – Louisville, KENTUCKY – Baptist Health Louisville is proud to be recognized by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky with a Blue Distinction® Centers+ for Bariatric Surgery designation, as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated healthcare facilities that show a commitment to delivering high quality patient safety and better health outcomes, based on objective measures that were developed with input from the medical community and leading accreditation and quality organizations.

The Blue Distinction Centers for Bariatric Surgery program provides a full range of bariatric surgery care; including surgical care, post-operative care, outpatient follow-up care, and patient education.  

Bariatric surgeries are among the most common elective surgeries in the U.S. — with more than 252,000 bariatric surgeries performed in 2018 based on a report from the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).[1] Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly 42.7 percent of U.S. adults and 18.5 percent of youth are obese and are impacted by obesity-related health conditions.[2] With obesity reaching epidemic levels among U.S. adults, a significant opportunity exists to improve quality care for bariatric surgeries within the national healthcare system.

John Oldham, MD, medical director for metabolic and bariatric surgery for Baptist Health Louisville stated:

Baptist Health Louisville is proud to be recognized by Anthem with a Blue Distinction Center+ designation, a reflection of the high quality care that we have delivered consistently through the years and that our patients have come to expect. We are committed to help patients achieve their health and wellness goals, and for some, bariatric surgery is the best option to reduce health risks caused by obesity and pave the way for a longer, healthier life. Being named a Blue Distinction Center+ is an honor for Baptist Health Louisville, but more importantly, it is a way for patients to find affordable healthcare services rendered by providers they know they can trust to give the best and most comprehensive, compassionate healthcare available.

The annual healthcare spend on obesity and obesity-related conditions expected is expected to rise by 2030, if the rate of obesity in the U.S. continues to climb.3 Bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment for severely obese patients because it allows for substantial, sustained weight loss, which leads to, improves, or resolves obesity-related co-morbidities like type 2 diabetes. On average, healthcare costs were reduced by 29 percent within five years following bariatric surgery, due to the reduction or elimination of obesity-related conditions, based on findings by ASMBS.

To receive a Blue Distinction Centers+ for Bariatric Surgery designation, a healthcare 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. All designated facilities must also be nationally accredited at both the facility and bariatric program-specific levels, as well as demonstrated cost-efficiency compared to its peers. Facilities designated as Blue Distinction Centers+ are on average 20 percent more cost-efficient in an episode of care compared to other facilities.

Quality is key: only those health care facilities that first meet Blue Distinction’s nationally-established, objective quality measures will be considered for designation as a Blue Distinction Center+.

“Blue Distinction+ designation is an important recognition of Baptist Health Louisville’s innovative and patient-centered approach to bariatric surgery quality,” said Jeff Reynolds, M.D., Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky’s medical director. “The Blue Distinction program recognizes commitment to quality and helps consumers identify high performing health care providers. I congratulate the entire bariatric team at Baptist Health Louisville for this well-deserved honor.”

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, cellular immunotherapy, fertility care, gene therapy, knee and hip replacement, maternity care, spine surgery, substance use treatment and recovery, 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.

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

All companies and trademarks listed above are the property of their respective owners and used for identification purposes only,  and are in no way associated or affiliated with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Use of these trademarks does not imply endorsement. The Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® names and symbols and Blue Distinction® are registered trademarks of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

[1] American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS)

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

[3] Wang, Y. C., McPherson, K., Marsh, T., Gortmaker, S. L., & Brown, M. (2011). Health and economic burden of the projected obesity trends in the USA and the UK. Lancet (London, England), 378(9793), 815–825