(PRNewswire-USNewswire) The American College of Surgeons (ACS) and American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) announced plans today to combine their respective national bariatric surgery accreditation programs into a single unified program to achieve one national accreditation standard for bariatric surgery centers. As of April 1, 2012, all institutions that have met the standards under the two separate programs—the ACS Bariatric Surgery Center Network (ACS BSCN) program and the ASMBS Bariatric Centers of Excellence (ASMBS BSCOE) program—will be extended accreditation in a new Joint Program. This arrangement will not affect recognition by Medicare or other payors.
"Bariatric surgery accreditation symbolizes an institution's commitment and accountability for safe, high-quality surgical care," said Clifford Y. Ko, M.D., FACS, Director, ACS Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care. "We are pleased that our dialog with ASMBS on developing a closer working relationship has led both of our organizations to come to a decision to jointly develop a single national accreditation program for quality and patient safety in bariatric surgery," he said. "We look forward to working with ASMBS in the months ahead and sharing our expertise and experience with creating a quality infrastructure that encompasses resources and processes of care."
"The opportunity to combine the expertise of the ASMBS and the American College of Surgeons will result in strong and consistent accreditation standards, promote quality improvement, and return value to patients, our members, and program participants," said Robin Blackstone, M.D., FACS, FASMBS, President of ASMBS. The transition to the Joint Program will begin April 1, during which time the ACS BSCN-accredited centers will continue to adhere to existing ACS standards, and the ASMBS BSCOE-accredited centers will adhere to existing ASMBS standards. Because the joint program is based on current accreditation standards, "there will be no interruption in accreditation, verification, or reporting," Dr. Blackstone explained.
It is anticipated that once operational committees of the new Joint Program are formed, a Standards Committee will develop new program accreditation criteria that will move beyond volume standards to include outcomes reporting. New accreditation standards will be implemented upon achievement of payor approval. It is anticipated that the new accreditation program infrastructure will be in place early in 2013.
All accredited programs will begin to report to the ACS BSCN data registry beginning April 1, 2012. The ACS and ASMBS will be in continual contact with all accredited centers in the weeks and months ahead as the Joint Program progresses.