Bariatric Surgery Excellence Award 2009/2010





NEWTON, Mass. (December, 2009) –
We are pleased to announce HealthGrades, the nation’s leading independent healthcare ratings organization, has ranked Newton-Wellesley’s Bariatric Program best in Massachusetts.

Under the leadership of Sheila Partridge, MD, Medical Director and Pablo Gazmuri, MD, Associate Medical Director, and new team members – Steven Yood, MD, Medical Director of Minimally Invasive General Surgery; and Rajan Chahal, MD, General and Bariatric Surgeon, the Program has received the 2009/2010 Bariatric Surgery Excellence Award™ and a top five-star rating, for the fourth consecutive year.

Newton-Wellesley Hospital’s bariatric program also ranks among the top five percent in the nation for the second year in a row, according to HealthGrades.

This latest honor isn’t the first time Newton-Wellesley’s Bariatric Surgery Program was recognized. Last year, the hospital was recognized by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts with a Blue Distinction® Designation for making a difference in health care outcomes and value in the area of bariatric surgery. Two years ago, Newton-Wellesley Hospital received accreditation as a Level 1A Bariatric Surgery Center from the American College of Surgeons (ACS), the highest level of accreditation a center can receive.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to receive this latest recognition from HealthGrades,” said Les Selbovitz, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs. “We’re extremely proud of our Bariatric Surgery Program here at Newton-Wellesley and are constantly striving to make the experience the best it can be for our patients.”

HealthGrades has issued its Fourth Annual Bariatric Surgery Trends in American Hospitals Study, which analyzes patient outcomes for the most common weight loss procedures including gastric bypass, less invasive laparoscopic procedures including gastric banding, malabsorbtive procedures and combined malabsorbtive/restrictive procedures. The study found that wide gaps in patient outcomes for bariatric surgery exist.

Newton-Wellesley Hospital is one of only 88 hospitals in the 19 states studied identified as a “top” performer (five-star rated), with mortality rates, complication rates and patient lengths of stay that are dramatically lower than poorly-rated hospitals. There are only three bariatric surgery programs in Massachusetts that have a five-star rating for 2009/2010.

Other findings identified in the study include:

  • Bariatric surgery patients treated at five-star rated hospitals have, on average a 67 percent lower chance of experiencing serious complications compared to patients who receive treatment at poorly-rated hospitals.
  • Patients had a three times higher risk of dying with a bariatric surgery if they had it performed at a one-star hospital versus a five-star hospital.
  • Patients having surgery at five-star hospitals spent, on average, more than half a day less in the hospital (2.15 days) compared to patients having surgery in one-star hospitals (2.72 days).
  • The number of inpatient procedures during the study years 2005 through 2007 showed no increase, but an increasing percentage of surgeries are being performed outpatient.
  • Laparoscopic bariatric surgery procedures account for 79% of all procedures, up from 54% in last year’s study.
  • Of the 19 states studies, over 61% of all procedures were performed in five states: New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, California and Florida.
  • California was, on average, the most expensive state for bariatric surgery (average charge per procedure=$52,224) while Maryland was the least expensive (average charge per procedure=$14,577).
  • Patients in Vermont, on average, spent the most time in the hospital (3.26 days), while patients in Nevada, on average, spent the least amount of time in the hospital (1.56 days).

“Because of the wide gap in quality outcomes we see in bariatric surgery centers in the United States, we recommend that every patient contemplating this life-changing surgery do their homework and research the quality of the centers at which they are thinking about having surgery,” said Rick May, MD, a senior physician consultant with HealthGrades and a co-author of the study. “The hospitals designated as five-star recipients have put processes in place to achieve this exceptional quality.”

For this study, HealthGrades analyzed 153,355 bariatric procedures performed in the years 2005, 2006 and 2007. The states included in the study are: Arizona, California, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

The full study and individual hospital ratings for bariatric surgery and other procedures can be found at

The Center for Weight Loss Surgery at Newton-Wellesley Hospital focuses on a multidisciplinary approach, which has been in place since the inception of the program at the Hospital. This approach has made Newton-Wellesley Hospital a leader in bariatric surgery for the past 13 years. The surgeons have had great success with the program and average approximately 400 surgeries a year with a 95 percent success rate, which is defined as a patient who loses 65 percent of his or her excess weight and maintains that weight loss.

The comprehensive approach combines surgery with nutrition education and counseling, psychological counseling and referrals, peer support groups, long-term medical follow up and state-of-the-art hospital services – each vital to the success of the patient.

Newton-Wellesley Hospital is a full system member of Partners HealthCare System, Inc. (PHCS), a nonprofit organization that includes acute care hospitals Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's/Faulkner Hospitals, The North Shore Medical Center, and specialty hospitals McLean Hospital and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, as well as Dana-Farber/Partners CancerCare, and the community-based doctors and hospitals of Partners Community HealthCare, Inc.

Newton-Wellesley Hospital provides a wide range of services, including medical, surgical, obstetrical, orthopaedic, neonatal, pediatric and psychiatric care. Newton-Wellesley has been serving its community for over a century. The medical staff of the Hospital includes nearly 1,000 physicians practicing a full range of specialties. NWH is a major teaching hospital for Tufts University School of Medicine and also has established post-graduate training programs for Harvard Medical School residents.

For more information about Newton-Wellesley Hospital, its physicians, programs and services, contact CareFinder at 617-243-6566 or log onto Become a fan of Newton-Wellesley at, follow us on Twitter at or check out our videos at

Rachel Kagno
Public Affairs & Marketing
Newton-Wellesley Hospital

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