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Cleveland Clinic Named NAFC Center of Excellence

May 15, 2012 (CHARLESTON, SC) — The National Association For Continence (NAFC) has designated the Section of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery in the OB/GYN & Women’s Health Institute and the Colorectal Surgery in the Digestive Disease Institute at the Cleveland Clinic as a Center of Excellence (COE): Continence Care for Women. Drs. Matthew Barber, Brooke Gurland, Tracy Hull, Marie Fidela Paraiso, Beri Ridgeway, Mark Walters and Massarat Zutshi are the principal physicians in this COE. Dr. Paraiso serves as head of the Center for Urogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cleveland Clinic.

It’s estimated that over 25 million adult Americans experience loss of bladder or bowel control. Because age is a risk factor for such health problems, the prevalence of those experiencing these problems is likely to grow because of the aging baby boomer generation. Each day another 10,000 Americans turn 65 years of age. NAFC’s National Centers of Excellence: Continence Care initiative was established to offer consumers, seeking solutions to their bladder and bowel control problems and related pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD), a reliable, trustworthy means of finding an experienced and well-trained team of experts. The COE designation is based on evidence of extensive training, clinical experience, interdisciplinary resources and patient satisfaction statistics that meet established standards. Health care institutions seeking to apply for this designation must first meet prequalification requirements set by NAFC and its COE Review Committee. A complete list of the requirements can be found on NAFC’s website.

A multi-step process must be completed to achieve COE status. First, a qualified health care facility, together with two or more physicians, completes an application. Once minimal requirements are deemed satisfied, patient satisfaction data collection is initiated by means of a confidential survey, results of which are analyzed and discussed with all individuals who are part of the application, for interim status. Once interim status is achieved, a qualified NAFC staff member makes a site visit to the facility and interviews the entire team of providers and the support staff. A full written report is subsequently submitted to the COE Review Committee to determine if COE designation can be granted or if additional data is needed. From beginning to end the entire process is patient-centered in criteria. Fully approved status is valid for three years before renewal. The COE designation applies to only to the facility at the location specified in the designation and to those named physicians at that facility who sought and received COE designation.

“Cleveland Clinic’s urogynecology and colorectal surgery pelvic floor specialists are honored to receive the National Center of Excellence designation,” said Dr. Paraiso. “We strive to educate our patients about pelvic floor disorders and provide the highest quality of care to achieve the best outcomes for patients.”

Cleveland Clinic’s gynecology programs are ranked among the top four in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. Cleveland Clinic OB/GYN & Women’s Health Institute includes generalists and specialists in several distinct clinical sections, including the Section of Urogynecology and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery. This section houses a wide variety of subspecialty interests including urogynecology and vaginal reconstructive pelvic surgery, advanced operative endoscopy, genital fistulas and bowel disorders. In 2010, the OB/GYN & Women’s Health Institute witnessed 207,623 outpatient visits.

The Digestive Disease Institute’s Department of Colorectal Surgery is globally recognized as a national leader in colorectal surgery and surgical innovation, attracting patients from more than 46 states. Cleveland Clinic's Digestive Disease Institute (DDI) is the first to unite all specialists within one unique, fully integrated model of care aimed at optimizing patient experience. The DDI includes: Colorectal Surgery, General Surgery, Hepato-pancreato-biliary & Transplant Surgery, Gastroenterology & Hepatology and the Center for Human Nutrition. Nearly 50 years a go DDI created the Wound, Ostomy, Continence Nursing School, the first of its kind in the world and a forerunner of the WOCN society of nurses with whom NAFC closely collaborates.