Spring Ahead

Published in April 2014 Issue             

Spring is upon us and Iím very excited for what lies ahead. The season is seen as a time of growth, renewal and expansion. With that in mind, Iíd like to highlight a few things that are already beginning to bloom.

1. MBSAQIP is now in full implementation. For currently accredited centers, the MBSAQIP is in the process of reviewing center-specific data entered into the MBSAQIP Data Registry to determine center volume and case mix (stapling vs. non-stapling). Based on this information, centers will be matched to the most appropriate MBSAQIP designation level. For centers that are new to bariatric accreditation, MBSAQIP plans to open the application process in late April. Further information will be forthcoming and will be made available on the
MBSAQIP website.

2. The ASMBS Spring Educational Event is less than two months away. We expect more than 500 health care professionals, researchers and scientists to attend this event focused on clinical applications, medical and surgical interventions and prevention of obesity.

Some of the featured topics that will be covered at this event include advanced bariatric life support and fundamentals of bariatric surgery, obesity medicine, management of sleeve gastrectomy complications, bariatric debates, integrated health hot topics in metabolic and bariatric surgery, and the science behind weight loss.

In an effort to increase our international attendees, we are including in-room Spanish translation for many of our sessions. I am looking forward to this event in Miami, which sometime is called the "gateway to the Americas" with its rich culture and history.

3. ASMBS Textbook of Bariatric Surgery. I am happy to report that the writing of the first ASMBS textbook of bariatric surgery is complete. The book is expected to be available at ObesityWeek 2014 in Boston. The two-volume book is a comprehensive guide to metabolic and bariatric surgery for bariatric surgeons, residents, fellows, bariatric physicians and integrated health members.

Volume I covers the history of our organization; mechanisms of metabolic surgery; currently accepted procedures and its outcome including long-term weight loss, improvement and resolution of comorbidities, and improvement in quality of life; and special considerations including coding and reimbursement and the economic impact of bariatric surgery. In addition, a section will focus on revisional bariatric surgery and new innovative endoscopic bariatric procedures. Other special emphasis will be given to the topic of metabolic surgery and surgery for patients with lower BMIs (30-35).

Volume II is divided into three sections: psychosocial issues associated with morbid obesity, bariatric medicine, and the preoperative and postoperative nutritional support for the bariatric patient.

4. Obesity Treatment Summit. It is more important than ever to talk and engage our medical colleagues about the disease of obesity, metabolic and bariatric surgery and the role and responsibility each one of us has in the spectrum management of the disease. We must foster dialog and greater action on obesity.

Along these lines, I have tasked our president-elect, Dr. John Morton, to put together an obesity treatment summit that will gather many of our medical and surgical colleagues to discuss how we all can best care for our patients. Potential collaborative projects coming from this summit include multi-society obesity management guidelines, combined educational courses and offerings at each otherís annual meetings, and further efforts to disseminate the current guidelines on the management of obesity to our medical colleagues. This summit is planned for late September of this year.

5. Importance of Accreditation. As you know, CMS recently withdrew the requirement for facility certification in bariatric surgery for Medicare beneficiaries. We think thatís wrong. As such, our ASMBS Clinical Issue Committee had been working on a position statement on the role of accreditation by compiling and summarizing all available peer-reviewed evidence on this topic. This document is in near completion and will soon go out to the membership
for comments.

6. Research Agenda. Lastly, the ASMBS Research Committee will soon send out a series of surveys to members to create and prioritize a research agenda in metabolic and bariatric surgery. Our goal is to establish consensus on the top research priorities using the Delphi methodology and inform the research community of what we believe are the research priorities in our field.

Potential benefits of this process include guiding the ASMSB Research grant evaluation process, directing grant applicants to key research areas, and informing requests for proposals. We also hope to guide government funding agencies in developing RFPs and/or to determine the perceived clinical importance of a grant submission; to provide editors and peer reviewers with information about key research questions to better understand the importance and impact of original research reports; to raise the profile of research in bariatric and metabolic surgery; to identify key gaps in current knowledge bariatric and metabolic surgery; and to help clinical investigators identify the most relevant research opportunities in developing their research programs. You should soon be receiving these surveys. Please participate to help us in prioritizing metabolic and bariatric surgery research needs.

As always, the ASMBS is your organization. I encourage you to get involved in the important work of our committees and tell us your ideas on how we can grow our organization. You can sign up for an ASMBS committee by logging onto our website.