Center for Weight Management named preferred provider by On
09.11.2009 – Canadian residents will soon be making trips to Park Rapids for
gastric bypass surgery at the direction of Ontario’s Ministry of Health.
The Ministry of Health recently named the Center for Weight Management (a service
of St. Joseph’s Area Health Services and Innovis Health) a “U.S. Preferred Provider.”
The agreement with Ontario could mean an additional 25 to 50 patients referred to
the Center for Weight Management per year, as estimated by Dr. Daniel Smith,
surgeon. The numbers hold the potential for an economic impact on behalf of the
Center as well as the community.
Dr. Dan Smith learned of Ontario’s interest in the Center for Weight Management in
May when the Ministry went in search of weight-loss centers located near the Ontario
and U.S. border that ranked as an American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric
Surgery Center of Excellence. The Center for Weight Management was re-certified
as a Center of Excellence for the next three years. It has also earned merit as a Blue
Cross, Blue Shield Blue Distinction Center.
Canadian patients will begin to be referred from the northwest region of Ontario to
the Park Rapids site.
“We are very proud to have been selected by the Ontario Ministry of Health, and we
think there is great potential for new patients to seek our services,” says Ben
Koppelman, St. Joseph’s President/CEO. “With our newly renovated facilities and
expanded bariatric team, we feel that we can provide a very high level of care and
service for these patients.”
Dr. Smith explains that the decision for Ontario’s government to refer bariatric
patients to the U.S. largely stems from a medical study on obesity that concludes
“surgery decreases long-term mortality, morbidity, and healthcare use in morbidly
obese patients.” The study, conducted in Quebec, appears in the Annals of Surgery,
2004 (Ann Surg 2004; 240: 416-424). It follows the medical histories of obese