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SEATTLE - (April 12, 2011) — The National Association For Continence (NAFC) designated Virginia Mason Medical Center's Pelvic Floor Center as a Center of Excellence (COE): Continence Care. Virginia Mason is the first medical center in the Western U.S. to receive this honor and joins only one other medical center in the country that has achieved this status. Drs. Fred Govier, Kathleen Kobashi, Alvaro Lucioni and Ksenija Stefanovic are the principal physicians in the COE.

It's estimated that more than 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 of the baby boomer generation. Each day another 10,000 Americans turn 65 years of age.

NAFC's National Centers of Excellence: Continence Care program 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 credentialed expert. The COE designation is based on evidence of extensive training, clinical experience, interdisciplinary resources and patient satisfaction statistics that meet established standards.

Recognized nationally for expertise in prostate cancer, incontinence, erectile dysfunction and sexual dysfunction, Virginia Mason urologists have played a vital role at the medical center for more than 80 years. In 2010, more than 7,500 patients were diagnosed and treated at Virginia Mason's Pelvic Floor Center. Virginia Mason physicians have researched and launched many of the newer techniques for treating female incontinence, which are now in widespread use across the country and around the world. Virginia Mason's highly respected physician team, as well as specialized nurse clinicians, provide collaborative care for patients at clinic locations in Seattle, Bellevue, Federal Way, Issaquah and Lynnwood.

"I am proud to be a part of the Virginia Mason team, which fosters excellence in patient care and constantly strives to provide outstanding medical education for the betterment of our community," says Kathleen Kobashi, MD.

Fred Govier, MD, in speaking of the pelvic floor specialty, says, "Continued advances in surgical techniques, pharmacology and technology have kept the field very exciting and have allowed us to better serve our patients."

"This is a great honor for our Pelvic Floor Center and Virginia Mason," says Jim Cote, vice president of clinic operations. "Our team of providers and staff are well-respected and sought for their comprehensive, collaborative approach to incontinence care and other pelvic floor challenges. This can be a difficult and deeply personal issue for our patients. I'm confident this Center of Excellence recognition upholds our team members' commitment to exceptional patient care and service."

About NAFC
The National Association For Continence is a 501 (c) 3 corporation whose mission is threefold: 1) to educate the public abut the causes, diagnosis categories, treatment options and management alternatives for incontinence, voiding dysfunction, nocturnal enuresis and related pelvic floor disorders; 2) to network with other organizations and agencies to elevate the visibility and priority given to these areas; and 3) to advocate on behalf of consumers who suffer from such symptoms as a result of disease or other illness, obstetrical, surgical or other trauma, or deterioration due to the aging process itself. NAFC is broadly funded by consumers, health care professionals and industry. It is the world's largest and most prolific consumer advocacy organization devoted exclusively to this field.

About Virginia Mason Medical Center
Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit comprehensive regional health care system in Seattle that combines a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 440 physicians with a 336-bed acute-care hospital. Virginia Mason operates a network of clinics throughout the Puget Sound area, and Bailey-Boushay House, a skilled-nursing facility and chronic care management program for people with HIV/AIDS. The medical center is affiliated with Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, internationally recognized in autoimmune disease research. Virginia Mason is known for applying manufacturing principles to health care to improve quality and patient safety. For more information, visit Facebook/VMcares or follow @VirginiaMason on Twitter.

For media inquiries: (206) 341-1509

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