UCI Health earns Boeing Center of Excellence designation

June 18, 2015

UCI Health has become one of only four medical centers nationwide to earn the Boeing Center of Excellence Designation in bariatric surgery.

Qualifying Boeing employees and their dependents from across the nation will be able travel to Orange, Calif., for treatment at the UCI Health H.H. Chao Comprehensive Digestive Disease Center where they will receive full-service, personalized care from a team of weight-loss experts.

“UCI Health was chosen as a Boeing Center of Excellence because of our expertise and our ability to offer the best in bariatric surgery,” said Ninh T. Nguyen, MD, chief of the UCI Health Division of Gastrointestinal Surgery and past president of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery

UCI Medical Center will be the only West Coast site for Boeing employee bariatric referrals.

Earning Blue Distinction® Center designation from Blue Shield of California in the area of bariatric surgery was a key to the Boeing designation. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated healthcare facilities shown to deliver quality specialty care, based on objective measures that were developed with input from the medical community, for patient safety and better health outcomes.

The Boeing Center of Excellence clinical team includes:

Bariatric surgeons Ninh T. Nguyen, MD, and Brian R. Smith, MD; gastrointestinal endoscopist Kenneth Chang, MD; clinical dietitian Amber Isenhart, MS, RD; clinical social worker Janet Ramirez, MSW; nurse navigator Sharon So, RN, CBN; surgical scheduler Mercy Gutierrez; and Boeing bariatric concierge Nicole Graham.

To receive a Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery designation, a healthcare facility must demonstrate success in meeting patient safety as well as bariatric-specific quality measures, including complications and readmissions, for gastric stapling and/or gastric banding procedures. A healthcare facility must also have earned national accreditations at both the facility level and the bariatric care-specific level.

Bariatric surgeries are among the most common elective surgeries in the U.S., which provides a significant opportunity to improve quality within the healthcare system. There were 179,000 bariatric surgeries performed in 2013, according to the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, and the average cost is more than $28,000 per episode, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 72 million Americans are obese and 24 million suffer from morbid obesity. The estimated annual healthcare costs of obesity-related illnesses are $190.2 billion, or nearly 21 percent of annual medical spending in the U.S., according to the Journal of Health Economics.

Research shows that facilities designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients compared with their peers.

UCI Health comprises the clinical, medical education and research enterprises of the University of California, Irvine. Patients can access UCI Health at physician offices throughout Orange County and at its main campus, UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, Calif., a 411-bed acute care hospital that provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation. U.S. News & World Report has listed it among America’s Best Hospitals for 14 consecutive years. UC Irvine Medical Center features Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program, Level I trauma center and Level II pediatric trauma center, and is the primary teaching hospital for UC Irvine School of Medicine. UCI Health serves a region of more than 3 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the University of California, Irvine: Currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.8 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.