Baystate Again Named One of America’s Top Hospitals

SPRINGFIELD — Baystate Medical Center has garnered national recognition as one of the country’s best hospitals for the second year in a row. The annual hospital rankings compiled by U.S. News and World Report placed Baystate in the top 173 of more than 5,400 medical centers nationwide.

Baystate’s medical and surgical endocrinology programs led the hospital to the distinction, placing alongside some of the best endocrinology programs in the U.S. Baystate is the only medical center in Western Mass. to be recognized by U.S. News this year.

“This honor serves as a tribute to the hard work, dedication, and teamwork of the doctors, nurses, and staff in our endocrinology and bariatric surgery departments — as well as our pathology and clinical laboratory colleagues — and to those who laid the foundation for this success in years past,” said Dr. J. Enrique Silva, chief of the Baystate Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. “It’s very gratifying to receive this national recognition, especially in a specialty as important as endocrinology to the community we serve. In addition, it’s an added stimulus to continue our mission, to reach out to the community for preventive interventions, and to continue to develop groundbreaking research in this field of medicine.”

The body’s endocrine system, through the many hormones it produces, is an essential regulator of metabolism and tissue function. The national recognition of Baystate’s Division of Endocrinology is even more meaningful, said Silva, because while Massachusetts at large is being affected as the rest of the nation by an overwhelming increase in obesity and diabetes, it is considerably higher in Western Mass. than in the rest of the Commonwealth.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were 3 million more cases of diabetes in the past two years nationally, which brings the total close to 24 million — most of it Type II, the type associated with obesity. Locally, an estimated 55,000 people in the Pioneer Valley are living with diabetes, and one-third of them are undiagnosed, according to the American Diabetes Assoc. Statistics show that diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in Americans, as well as the leading cause of kidney failure and non-traumatic lower-limb amputation, and 73{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of those living with diabetes have high blood pressure. Even more concerning, if the current explosion in diabetes and obesity continues, one in three children born in the year 2000 and beyond will develop diabetes in his or her lifetime.

“Obesity is a disease that knows no boundaries and affects many body systems, often resulting in diabetes and heart disease, and its care must be multidisciplinary and collaborative,” said Dr. John Romanelli, FACS, director of bariatric surgery at Baystate Medical Center. “We have a team of surgeons, endocrinologists, nephrologists, and general-medicine physicians all sharing their resources and expertise in obesity care to further benefit our patients, and we are also conducting clinical research to determine why, after bariatric surgery, many patients are cured of their diabetes.”

Dr. Loring Flint, senior vice president, Medical Affairs at Baystate Health, noted that the U.S. News rankings demonstrate that Baystate is “a clinically excellent hospital.”

“We’re proud to be part of such a select group of care providers,” he said. “It means even more that our programs in endocrinology and obesity surgery are being particularly honored, since their work is so integral to our mission of improving the health of the people in our communities.”

“The America’s Best Hospitals rankings provide readers with trusted material during some of life’s most concerning times — hospitalization,” said Brian Kelly, editor of U.S. News & World Report. “Our rankings highlight the internal culture of excellence embraced by caregivers in the great hospitals throughout the United States.”

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