Dr. Barbara Bass is the Chairperson of the Department of Surgery at The Methodist Hospital, in Houston, Texas. Dr. Barbara Lee Bass is creating something that has not been done in the United States in the past 40 years - a new academic Department of Surgery. The chair of the Department of Surgery at The Methodist Hospital is taking this unprecedented opportunity to lead a department that is redefining its roles in the areas of academia and medical research. As one of the most respected surgeons in the nation, Dr. Bass is charged with expanding the education and research pillars of the department. Dr. Bass said she came to Methodist because of its reputation for cutting-edge science, state-of-the-art technology and long-standing commitment to the best in patient care.
Methodist Institute for Technology, Innovation and Education (MITIE)
Dr. Bass is working to create a first of its kind training center in the United States that will act as a "new skills acquisition and retooling site" for physicians and allied health workers worldwide. MITIE will be a unique training center that will provide superior clinical training in a safe and participatory environment. The institute will be composed of adjacent multifunctional sites with technologies that include virtual environments, simulators, technical trainers, robotics, image-guidance devices, and conferencing and debriefing capabilities. MITIE’s training environment will foster innovation while allowing physicians to efficiently acquire new procedural and patient care skills.
Dr. Bass and Dr. Galati will discuss a wide range of topics concerning patients going for surgery. The topics that will be discussed will include:

Looking for a Qualified Surgeon? Here's How

Public information from the American College of Surgeons

Guidance to help you find a qualified surgeon and treatment center

Most of us have some criteria for making important decisions in life. But suppose that your doctor recommends that you consider having an operation. How do you go about finding a qualified surgeon? If you or someone you know is considering elective surgery, you should be aware that there are some ways to objectively evaluate your surgeon. The American College of Surgeons—the largest international organization of surgeons in the world—recommends that you look for the following criteria: 1) board certification 2) hospital or ambulatory center accreditation and 3) Fellowship in the American College of Surgeons.

Check for Board Certification

In order for a physician to become board certified in a surgical specialty, they must complete the required years of residency training in that specialty, and then demonstrate their knowledge by successfully completing a rigorous comprehensive examination. Specialty boards certify physicians that meet certain published standards. There are 24 specialty boards that are recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and the American Medical Association (AMA).

A specialist has graduated medical school and received a MD (Medical Doctorate) or DO (Doctor of Osteopathy). The physician then completes three to eight years of additional training in an accredited residency program. Each specialist must pass a written examination given by a specialty board. Fifteen of the specialty boards also require an oral examination. All of the ABMS Boards issue a time-limited certificate, which are valid for six to 10 years. In order to retain certification, physicians must become recertified and must show continuing education in the specialty. You can review a brief description of the surgical specialty areas on the American College of Surgeons Web site. Visit: Guide to Surgical Specialties.

You can check on specialty certification of specific physicians through the ABMS Web site (http://www.abms.org), through the link: “Who’s Certified.” You will need to register, just follow their directions. After registering, click on “Who’s Certified” and enter your search information. In addition, verbal verification of a physician’s board certification is available through the ABMS toll-free telephone service. Call: 1-866-ASK-ABMS (275-2267). You can also check verification in The Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists, published annually. The Directory can be found in many medical schools and public libraries. Written verification is available by contacting the individual specialty board in the physician's field of practice.

In most cases, a surgeon who is board certified and/or a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons will have certificates verifying these credentials on display in their office. If not, another way is to simply ask the surgeon for his or her credentials. Or you can phone your state or county medical association for assistance.

Check for Facility Accreditation

Your operation should be performed in an accredited hospital, outpatient surgery center, or cancer treatment center. Accreditation means that the hospital or surgical center is committed to providing high quality health care and that it has demonstrated commitment to meeting high patient safety standards.

Hospitals are accredited and evaluated by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). A hospital accredited by the JCAHO means that the hospital has met the Joint Commissions quality and safety standards. You can check to see if a hospital has been JCAHO-accredited by clicking here http://www.qualitycheck.org and entering your search information.

Surgical Centers are accredited and evaluated by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAH) and JCAHO. Accreditation by AAAH is a voluntary process that involves a self-assessment by the organization and a thorough review by expert surveyors. Visit the AAAH site (http://www.aaahc.org/eweb/StartPage.aspx) to see if your surgical center is accredited. Once you enter the AAAH Web site, click the heading “SEARCH FOR ACCREDITED ORGANIZATIONS” to access find a list of facilities in your area.

Cancer Treatment Center

Cancer treatment facilities are approved by the Commission on Cancer (CoC). Approval as a cancer center is granted only to those facilities that have voluntarily committed to provide the best in cancer diagnosis and treatment and are able to comply with established CoC standards. Each cancer program must undergo a rigorous evaluation and review of its performance and compliance with the CoC standards every three years. Participating programs are concerned with the continuum of care from prevention and early detection, pretreatment evaluation, and staging, to optimal treatment, rehabilitation, surveillance for recurrent disease, support services, and end-of-life care. There are currently 1,432 CoC-approved cancer programs. These programs diagnose and/or treat 80 percent of newly diagnosed cancer patients annually. You can find an approved cancer center by going to http://www.facs.org/cancerprogram/howto.html and then go to the bottom of the page to “Find a CoC Cancer Program Near You”.

Check for membership in the American College of Surgeons

The letters “FACS” after a surgeon's name indicates that he or she is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). Fellows of the College are board-certified surgeons whose education, training, professional qualifications, surgical competence, and ethical conduct have been reviewed and evaluated prior to admittance and have been found to be consistent with the high standards of the American College of Surgeons. Not all surgeons are accepted into Fellowship in the College and there are some surgeons who may choose not to become Fellows. The letters “FACS” after a surgeon's name indicates that the surgeon has submitted to a process to obtain voluntary credential and performance evaluation by their peers.

You can find a member of the American College of Surgeons in our Fellowship Database at http://web2.facs.org/acsdir/default_public.cfm or call 312-202-5236 for a list of Fellows in your area.