At Blue Shield of California, we know that when members and their healthcare providers have determined together that bariatric surgery is an appropriate course of treatment, access to quality bariatric surgery care is vital. Bariatric surgery is an appropriate treatment option for certain patients diagnosed with morbid obesity. 

Bariatric surgery should be reserved for patients for whom all other methods of treatment have failed. Blue Shield requires pre-authorization for bariatric surgery and requires that PPO members living in select counties in Southern California use only designated providers. More information about each member's coverage and benefits is located in their Evidence of Coverage. Members can contact Blue Shield member services for more information. 

What are Blue Distinction Centers?

Blue Distinction® and Blue Distinction® Centers+ are recognized for distinguished clinical care and processes by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We're proud that several facilities within Blue Shield's network of hospitals are designated as Blue Distinction Centers and Blue Distinction Centers+ for Bariatric Surgery.

Facilities earn these designations based on rigorous, evidence-based, objective criteria and input from expert physicians and medical organizations. The goal of this recognition is to help all Blues health plan members — and others — find quality specialty care on a consistent basis, while enabling and encouraging healthcare professionals to improve the overall quality and delivery of care nationwide. 

Studies indicate Blue Distinction Centers have better overall outcomes and lower costs for certain procedures when compared to non-designated medical facilities. In addition, Blue Distinction Centers+ demonstrate a history of offering more affordable care. By providing this information for our members, we can continue to help them make informed health care decisions. 

Participation in the Blue Distinction Centers for Bariatric Surgery program is voluntary for healthcare providers. Facilities not referenced either did not meet the criteria or chose not to participate in the program at this time. Blue Shield will continue to work with interested hospitals to improve reporting data and measurement tools for future inclusion in this program.

Blue Distinction Criteria

The criteria for selection to the Blue Distinction and Blue Distinction Centers+ for Bariatric Surgery program were developed with input from physician experts and medical organizations and include a comprehensive evaluation of structure, process and outcome measures. Facilities designated as Blue Distinction and Blue Distinction Centers+ for Bariatric Surgery have dedicated teams that provide a full range of bariatric surgical care services, including inpatient care, postoperative care, follow-up and patient education. 

Learn more about the Blue Distinction program


Note: Designation as Blue Distinction or Blue Distinction Centers+ means these facilities' overall experience and aggregate data met objective criteria established in collaboration with expert clinicians and leading professional organizations' recommendations. Individual outcomes may vary. Before making an appointment, find out which services are covered under your policy at any facility by calling Blue Shield Customer Service and check with your provider to verify the most current information regarding their Network participation status. Neither Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association nor any of its Licensees are responsible for any damages, losses, or non-covered charges that may result from using this website or receiving care from a provider listed in this website.