Date: April 4, 2008Release: ImmediateContact: Kim

Date: April 4, 2008Release: ImmediateContact: Kim

Date: April 4, 2008
Release: Immediate

Contact: Kim Gronniger, Marketing and Communications, 295-8899

Turning Point Named Bariatric Center of Excellence


Topeka , Kan. - The Turning Point Surgical Weight Loss Solutions program, a joint partnership between
St. Francis Health Center and Tallgrass Surgical Specialists, has been approved as a United Resource Networks Bariatric Center of Excellence. To receive this designation, Turning Point met stringent qualification components, including:

  • Patient safety
  • Interdisciplinary team approach, including St. Francis and Tallgrass surgical staff as well as consultant team members (anesthesiology, cardiology, endrocrinology, gastroenterology, infectious disease, interventional radiology, psychology/psychiatry, pulmonology, registered dietitian, and radiologist
  • Complication prevention and management clinical pathways
  • Overall program structure with designated care areas, ICU structure, surgeon certifications and continuing education
  • Quality initiatives (patient satisfaction, follow-up care, support group availability, research studies, committee initiatives, etc.)
  • Surgeon experience
  • Volume and outcomes

Since 2002, more than 1,000 bariatric surgeries have been undertaken at St. Francis in collaboration with Tallgrass surgeons. In 2007, St. Francis Health Center and Tallgrass surgeons Drs. Berntsen, Dunshee and Steward received Center of Excellence status from the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery as well.

The comprehensive process includes psychological evaluation, education, surgery and support for patients with a Body Mass Index of 40 or 35 with co-morbidity conditions (diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, etc.).

Prospective patients must attend an informational seminar at St. Francis facilitated by Tallgrass surgeons. The informational seminar reviews the risks and benefits associated with Adjustable Gastric Banding (LAP-BAND), Gastric Bypass Roux-en-Y, and Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch bariatric surgical procedures. Participants are also informed about their responsibilities in preparing for and recovering from the surgery and the lifestyle changes that will be required to maintain their health.

Bernita Berntsen, MD, and Carlyle Dunshee, MD, two Tallgrass surgeons who perform bariatric procedures, emphasize patients considering laparoscopic surgical weight loss assistance must be fully informed about the risks and benefits of both procedures and psychological and physical readiness factors must be addressed upfront.

“We review their medical history, diet history and health issues and review the risks, the process of eating after surgery and lifestyle changes that they will need to make for long-term success,” says Dr. Berntsen.

“Because prospective patients have been dealing with obesity issues for a long time, they often come with a mindset of ‘let’s do this tomorrow,’ but we need to make sure they come to the informational sessions, read material and talk to others so they can determine whether surgery is a good option for them and if so which one,” notes Dr. Dunshee.

Dr. Dunshee emphasizes that the procedures “are a treatment, not a cure.”

“When you see someone who can’t bend over to tie his shoes or pick-up his children or sit in a plane seat and you are able to restore his mobility and improve his health, that’s one of the most gratifying things we can do,” says Dr. Dunshee. “We can see the positive impact it can have on a person’s life. A 15-year study of 1,000 patients showed that 80 percent of those with Type 2 diabetes no longer had it after surgery.”

To learn more, call Stacy Stromgren, St. Francis bariatric manager, at 785-295-5426.

Turning Point informational seminars

Turning Point informational seminars are open to anyone who is researching weight loss surgery options. The seminars provide information on the history of obesity, treatment options, surgical procedure review and surgery complications as well as time for questions and answers. A packet of informational tools and required documentation materials are provided at the end of the seminar. Potential patients must complete a patient questionnaire and submit it before a surgical consultation is scheduled.
The seminars are held on the second Saturday of each month in the St. Francis Health Center second floor auditorium from 10 a.m. to noon. The auditorium doors close promptly at 10 a.m. so please arrive early to sign in.

2008 Seminar Schedule

March 8
April 12
May 10
June 14
July 12
August 9
September 13
October 11
November 8
December 13

About St. Francis Health Center

A not-for-profit Catholic health care provider in the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, St. Francis Health Center embodies a diverse and caring community dedicated to improving the health and welfare of others. St. Francis employees have provided innovative, inspired service for nearly a century to care for thousands of patients and their families with the same spirit and resolve demonstrated by the resourceful sisters who opened the facility on Oct. 17, 1909. Today the Health Center has 378 licensed beds, a medical staff representing nearly all specialties, adult and youth volunteers and a thriving auxiliary. Skillfully integrating technology with tenderness, St. Francis and its employees have fostered a premier regional hospital featuring the newest medical innovations and state-of-the-art equipment.

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