What an Accredited Bariatric Program Must Have
MBSAQIP's new guidelines require hospitals to put in place program components the average referring physician or patient might not really think about. But just imagine a program that doesn't have these elements. At minimum a program must have:
- A program director who actively practices bariatric surgery, chairs a specifically defined program committee, and other responsibilities filling two pages; a coordinator who is a registered dietician, and a clinical reviewer who does not supervise patient care to enter data.
- Surgeons whose licenses are in good standing, who have formal bariatric surgery training, who can document performing at least 25 stapling cases a year at a single center, and who operate in a program with adequate surgical backup in case patients develop complications.
- A designated area with a consistent and knowledgeable nursing team where bariatric procedures are performed.
- Registered nurses, advanced practice nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and exercise therapists specifically trained for bariatric patient care.
- Furniture, physical space, and equipment sized to handle large patients.
- Long-term follow-up plans on a 30-day, six month and one-year and annually thereafter schedule, patient education protocols, and support groups with regularly scheduled and supervised programs.
- Process improvement initiatives and safety culture monitoring.
If anyone thinks all this goes without saying, they should stop to consider that there are 175 hospitals that can't demonstrate that they have these standards in place.