Blue Cross designates Fresno Heart & Surgical as center of expertise

Blue Cross of California has recognized the Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital’s bariatric program with its own “Surgical Center of Expertise” designation.

The designation now allows patients with Blue Cross insurance coverage to have bariatric and metabolic surgery at the same hospital that has been recognized by leading independent ratings organization HealthGrades as the “best in the region for overall cardiac services.” 

The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery reports that weight-reduction surgery can reduce heart problems and other risk factors associated with obesity, including high blood pressure, sleep apnea and diabetes.

In anticipation of an increased demand for surgical suites, the hospital began construction in mid-August to add two advanced-technology, minimally-invasive operating suites, a 144-seat education center and more space and beds to the surgery recovery area. The new operating rooms will allow the hospital to perform up to 2,400 more surgeries a year, doubling the number of surgical cases done annually.

The Blue Cross designation gives patients more choices and allows the hospital to respond to a community need for this service. The same surgeons practicing at Fresno Heart & Surgical also perform bariatric procedures at Clovis Community Medical Center, rated by HealthGrades as the best place in California for the bariatric and metabolic surgery.

Fresno Heart & Surgical joins 19 other California hospitals with Blue Cross bariatric coverage, including Clovis Community.

The Blue Cross award of excellence follows closely after the Joint Commission’s accreditation and praise for Fresno Heart & Surgical’s care, professionalism, teamwork and hotel-like environment. The Joint Commission, an independent not-for-profit, is the nation’s predominant standards-setting organization, and its accreditation indicates an organization’s commitment to patient safety, quality and delivery of critical care services.

“To be considered for Blue Cross designation, the hospital staff complied and submitted data on the bariatric surgery activity, mortality, readmission and complication rates, as well as the overall processes for care management,” said Wanda Holderman, chief executive for Fresno Heart & Surgical. “We are proud to be named among other hospitals who rank high in quality care.” 

This story was reported by Erin Kennedy. She can be reached at