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Recognized for Quality Bariatric Surgery

May 17, 2021

Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield has recognized Iowa Specialty Hospital with a Blue Distinction Center® designation in the area of bariatric surgery, as part of the Blue Distinction® Specialty Care program. The designation places Iowa Specialty Hospital among the nationally designated facilities shown to deliver quality specialty care based on objective measures developed from the medical community for patient safety and better health outcomes.

Bariatric surgeries are among the most common elective surgeries in the U.S. According to the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, in 2018 there were 252,000 bariatric surgeries performed. Additionally, in 2018, the prevalence of obesity was over 40 percent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Journal of Health Economics states the estimated annual health care costs of obesity-related illnesses are $190.2 billion, or nearly 21 percent of annual medical spending in the U.S.

To receive a Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery designation, a health care 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 health care facility must also have earned national accreditations at both the facility level and the bariatric care-specific level.

Iowa Specialty Hospital is proud to be recognized by Wellmark for meeting the robust selection criteria for bariatric surgery set by the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program.

“Over a decade ago, multiple organizations implemented standards to improve the quality of bariatric surgery in the United States,” stated Dr. Todd Eibes, M.D., F.A.C.S and Medical Director of Bariatric Surgery.  “The Blue Distinction program is one of these programs.  A center that has this distinction is committed to following evidence based pathways and care plans for the optimal outcomes in patients.  A large part of the program is data collection and every patient is entered into a database which allows all outcomes to be studied.”  He went on to say that “our program is very committed to using this data to ensure every patient will get the best care possible.  Having surgery at such a center ensures that the patient is being treated by a team that has produced outstanding outcomes over a large number of patients and is constantly studying results to provide the best patient care.  This leads to lower complication rates for the patients and lower costs for the insurance carrier.”

The Blue Distinction Specialty Care program remains a trusted and valuable source for patients seeking quality care in the areas of bariatric surgery, cardiac care, cellular immunotherapy, fertility care, knee and hip replacements, maternity care, spine surgery, transplants and substance use treatment and recovery.

For more information about the program, visit

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At Iowa Weight Loss Specialists, we believe in having a comprehensive team of medical professionals to provide the care patients need to achieve their weight loss goals. Led by Dr. Todd Eibes, our surgical and non-surgical programs offer patients the tools and resources they need to successfully lose excess weight to live long, healthy, and fulfilling lives. For more information about Iowa Weight Loss Specialists and our programs, visit or call 515-327-2000. 

About Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Wellmark, Inc. ( does business as Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa. Wellmark and its subsidiaries and affiliated companies, including Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota, Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc. and Wellmark Value Health Plan, Inc., insure or pay health benefit claims for more than 2 million members in Iowa and South Dakota. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota, Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc. and Wellmark Value Health Plan, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association 
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans. BCBSA provides health care insights through The Health of America Report series and the national BCBS Health Indexsm. For more information on BCBSA and its member companies, please visit We also encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube and follow us on Twitter.

About Blue Distinction Centers 
Blue Distinction Centers (BDC) met overall quality measures, developed with input from the medical community. A Local Blue Plan may require additional criteria for providers located in its own service area; for details, contact your Local Blue Plan. Blue Distinction Centers+ (BDC+) also met cost measures that address consumers’ need for affordable healthcare. Each provider’s cost of care is evaluated using data from its Local Blue Plan. Providers in CA, ID, NY, PA, and WA may lie in two Local Blue Plans’ areas, resulting in two evaluations for cost of care; and their own Local Blue Plans decide whether one or both cost of care evaluation(s) must meet BDC+ national criteria. National criteria for BDC and BDC+ are displayed on Individual outcomes may vary. For details on a provider’s in-network status or your own policy’s coverage, contact your Local Blue Plan and ask your provider before making an appointment. Neither Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association nor any Blue Plans are responsible for non-covered charges or other losses or damages resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers.

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