More than one-third, 36.5 percent, of U.S. adults are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They have tried low-carb diets, high-protein diets, liquid diets and even starvation. Nothing seems to work. As a solution, they turn to bariatric surgery.

Obesity does not discriminate. It is pervasive even in the Coachella Valley, home to movie stars, swimming pools and its fair share of beautiful people. Even some of those well-documented California girls the Beach Boys lamented suffer from obesity.

Surgery is a major undertaking and a life-altering decision. So, how do you choose where to go for the procedure? You might consider the hospital’s track record, which brings us to Eisenhower Health.

Anthem Blue Cross of California has recognized Eisenhower Health with a Blue Distinction® Center for Bariatric Surgery designation as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated health care facilities that show expertise in delivering improved patient safety and better health outcomes, based on objective measures that were developed with input from the medical community.

To receive a Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery designation, a health care facility must demonstrate success in meeting patient safety measures as well as bariatric-specific quality measures, including complication and readmission rate for laparoscopic procedures in sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass and adjustable gastric band. A health care facility must also be nationally accredited at both the facility and bariatric program-specific levels.

In 2017, the Blue Distinction Centers for Bariatric Surgery program expanded to include not only the type of service provided, but also the site of care. Health care facilities were evaluated as either a comprehensive center or as an ambulatory surgery center.

“We are honored to receive this national distinction which recognizes the high quality care our bariatric surgery team provides each and every day,” Ann Mostofi, Vice President, Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer, said in a prepared statement. “Providing excellent patient care in the treatment of obesity helps our patients lead healthier lives. To be recognized as a Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery underscores our team’s commitment to quality care resulting in successful patient outcomes.”

Bariatric surgeries are among the most common elective surgeries in the U.S., which provides significant opportunity to improve quality within the health care system. There were 196,000 bariatric surgeries performed in 2015, according to the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), and the average cost is more than $28,000 per episode, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The estimated annual health care costs of obesity-related conditions are nearly $210 billion per year in the U.S., according to the Journal of Health Economics. On average, health care costs were reduced by 29 percent within five years following bariatric surgery, due to the reduction or elimination of obesity-related conditions, according to ASMBS.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies across the nation have recognized more than 550 health care facilities as Blue Distinction Centers for Bariatric Surgery. Health care facilities recognized with this designation are assessed using a combination of publicly available quality information and cost measures derived from BCBS companies’ medical claims.

For more information about the program and for a complete listing of the designated facilities, please visit here.