North Shore University Hospital Approved as Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence

October 9, 2006

North Shore University Hospital announced today that it has been approved as a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence, allowing the hospital and its surgeons to receive Medicare reimbursement for operating on the morbidly obese.

Bariatric surgeons Lawrence Gellman, MD, left, and Dominick Gadaleta, MD, demonstrate a pulse oximeter, which measures the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream. Connected to a patient's finger, the device allows nursing staff to monitor bariatric patients in a wireless fashion and take emergency action if there are alterations in the oxygen saturation level of a patient's blood. The designation, made by the American Society for Bariatric Surgery's Surgical Review Corp, confirms that North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) and its bariatric surgeons, Dominick Gadaleta, MD, and Larry Ely Gellman, MD, have attained the levels of optimal performance required to ensure the best outcome for patients.

"North Shore University Hospital is now among a select group of 172 hospitals throughout the United States to be recognized as a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence, bolstering our growing reputation as a national destination for innovative surgery," said Dennis Dowling, the hospital's executive director. NSUH is the only hospital in Nassau County with the distinction of having two surgeons certified by the American Society for Bariatric Surgery.

Drs. Gadaleta and Gellman have performed more than 1,500 bariatric surgeries since starting NSUH's program in 1997. In reviewing the hospital's request for certification, the American Society for Bariatric Surgery took into account such factors as the training received by surgeons, the short- and long-term results experienced by bariatric patients, the availability and quality of other clinical and support services to help ensure successful outcomes, and the office and staff resources in place to deal with the physical and emotional needs of the morbidly obese.

"Obesity is fast becoming the nation's most serious public health crisis, with more than 23 million Americans considered morbidly obese, including thousands here on Long Island," said Dr. Gadaleta. "This Center of Excellence designation opens the door for many individuals age 62 and over who are struggling to find a life-saving solution to their obesity."

In February 2006, Medicare expanded its national coverage to include bariatric surgery for all beneficiaries. For those with a body mass index (BMI) of greater than 40 who exceed their ideal body weight by more than 100 pounds, bariatric surgery is often the only effective treatment. Individuals who have a BMI of 35 or are more than 75 pounds overweight are also prone to obesity-related illnesses and considered candidates for bariatric surgery.

"Diabetes, hypertension and pulmonary disorders such as sleep apnea are just a few of the life-threatening diseases facing obese individuals," said Dr. Gellman. "This new designation affirms that we have a complete spectrum of services and resources available to provide our patients with the best care and attention, and help them achieve a better quality of life."

Among the physical resources hospitals must have to become a center of excellence include enlarged furniture, beds, scales, wheelchairs and operating tables, as well as a computed tomography (CT) system and other diagnostic equipment strong and wide enough to support the severely obese.

To reach Drs. Gadaleta or Gellman, call (516) 482-8657.

Terry Lynam
(516) 465-2640/2600

Last Update

May 18, 2010
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