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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Houston VA Doctor Named to National Surgery Quality Board

March 20, 2008

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David H. Berger, M.D., Operative Care Line executive (right) performs surgery with David Chafey, M.D., resident (left) and Kostas Votanopoulos, M.D., chief resident.
Photo: Mike Lane, MEDVAMC Media Section


HOUSTON – David H. Berger, M.D., M.H.C.M., Operative Care Line executive at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, was recently selected to serve on the National Veterans Affairs Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) Executive Committee.

The intent of the NSQIP is to provide reliable, valid data about comparative risk-adjusted outcomes of major surgery in the VA and to provide reliable data about workload and length of stay. The ultimate use of these data is to improve the quality of surgical care to all veterans. 

Annually, the NSQIP Executive Committee carefully reviews the risk-adjusted observed/expected (O/E) mortality ratios in each VA hospital for all surgical operations combined and each surgical subspecialty. An O/E ratio statistically significantly above one indicates that mortality is higher than what would be expected on the basis of the patient characteristics. An O/E ratio statistically significantly below one indicates that mortality is lower than what would be expected on the basis of the patient characteristics.  The Surgical Service at the MEDVAMC has been recognized as a low outlier for mortality for eight consecutive years.

NSQIP is the first national, validated, outcome-based, risk-adjusted, and peer-controlled program for the measurement and enhancement of the quality of surgical care. The NSQIP incorporates data from more than 128 Veterans Affairs Medical Centers.

Berger was listed as one of the best doctors in the nation in the field of surgical oncology in 2007 by the medical knowledge company, Best Doctors, Inc. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn where he also completed his residency in general surgery. Berger also completed a 3-year fellowship in surgical oncology at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

A professor and vice chair of the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine, Berger is the author of more than 150 peer-reviewed and invited publications and the recipient of numerous awards for excellence in teaching.