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Bariatric Program Achieves National Accreditation

Americus, Ga., Dec. 11, 2018 | – Patients seeking surgical treatment for severe obesity and its related conditions have a high-quality choice for receiving treatment at a nationally accredited program that meets the highest standards for patient safety and quality of care in southwest Georgia.

Drs. Sean Sheff  and Jeremy Joyner, Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Co-Directors at Phoebe Sumter, recently announced its bariatric surgical center has been fully accredited as a Comprehensive Center under the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP®), a joint program of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

The MBSAQIP Standards ensure that bariatric surgical patients receive a multidisciplinary program, not just a surgical procedure, which improves patient outcomes and long-term success. The accredited center offers preoperative and postoperative care designed specifically for their severely obese patients.

“We are truly honored and proud to have earned the prestigious designation as an accredited comprehensive metabolic and bariatric surgical center,” said Dr. Sheff.

 “This accreditation is a testament to the entire team’s unwavering commitment to our patients,” Dr, Joyner added.

Phoebe Sumter’s commitment to quality care begins with appropriately trained staff and leadership surgeons who participate in meetings throughout the year to review its outcomes. They seek continuous improvement to enhance the structure, process and outcomes of the center.

To earn the MBSAQIP designation, Phoebe Sumter’s Bariatric Program met essential criteria for staffing, training and facility infrastructure and protocols for care, ensuring its ability to support patients with severe obesity. The center also participates in a national data registry that yields semiannual reports on the quality of its processes and outcomes, identifying opportunities for continuous quality improvement. The standards are specified in the MBSAQIP Resources for Optimal Care of the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Patient 2016, published by the ACS and ASMBS.

“This MBSAQIP designation demonstrates our uncompromising commitment to quality and gives patients assurance that our bariatric program has met the highest standards of the highest governing body of bariatric surgery.” said Brandi Lunneborg, Phoebe Sumter CEO and Corporate Director of Planning and Continuous Improvement for Phoebe Putney Health System. “We are grateful for the exceptional talent of our bariatric team and recognize the contributions of everyone from our board-certified fellowship-trained bariatric surgeons, Sean Sheff, MD and Jeremy Joyner, MD, to our extensive support staff  who have helped make this  program a success.”

After submitting an application, centers seeking MBSAQIP Accreditation undergo an extensive site visit by an experienced bariatric surgeon, who reviews the center's structure, process, and clinical outcomes data  Centers are awarded a specific designation depending on how many patients it serves annually, the type of procedures it provides, and whether it provides care for patients under age 18.

In the United States, around 15.5 million people suffer from severe obesity, according to the National Institutes of Health, and the numbers continue to increase. Obesity increases the risks of morbidity and mortality because of the diseases and conditions that are commonly associated with it, such as type II diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, among other health risks. Metabolic and bariatric surgical procedures have proven to be effective in the reduction of comorbid conditions related to severe obesity.* Working with ASMBS, the ACS expanded this quality program for bariatric surgery centers so that it can assist bariatric patients in identifying those centers that provide optimal surgical care.


PHOTO CAPTION: (Pictured left to right) Dr. Jeremy Joyner and Dr. Sean Sheff are excited to announced that Phoebe Bariatrics has achieved national accreditation.

*Buchwald H, Avidor Y, Braunwald E, et al. Bariatric Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA. 2004;292(14):1724-1737. DOI:10.1001/jama.292.14.1724.

About Phoebe Sumter’s Bariatric Program
Phoebe Sumter’s Bariatric Program has completed more than 300 cases and has met or exceeded national quality standards of the MBSAQIP. The program offers severely obese patients three surgical options – adjustable gastric banding, sleeve gastrectomy and Roux-en Y Gastric Bypass. All patients are under the care of two board-certified fellowship-trained bariatric surgeons and work closely with a masters-prepared, certified metabolic and bariatric registered nurse who coordinates their ongoing plan of care. This comprehensive program also includes consults with a registered dietitian experienced in the nutritional needs of people undergoing weight-loss surgery, medically-supervised weight loss, psycho-emotional counseling, education and individual and group support. All surgical procedures are performed at Phoebe Sumter Medical Center. Pre-and-post surgery visits are available in Albany and Americus. The program’s patient averages are far exceeding national average excess body weight loss one year post-op. Online and in-person physician-led seminars are free. To learn more, visit

About the American College of Surgeons
The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational association of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical education and practice and to improve the quality of care for the surgical patient. Its achievements have placed it at the forefront of American surgery and have made the College an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 80,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world.

About the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, founded in 1983, was formed to advance the art and science of metabolic and bariatric surgery by continually improving the quality and safety of care and treatment of people with obesity and related diseases through educational and support programs for surgeons and integrated health professionals.