A Note From the President

Published in March Issue             

Dear Members,

Welcome to another edition of connect.

Let me start this monthly communication by sharing with you some exciting news.

Camillo Ricordi, MD, Professor of Surgery and Medicine and Director of the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami, has graciously accepted the invitation to be our Ed Mason Lecturer at ObesityWeek 2016.

Dr. Ricordi's CV reflects the breadth of his critical breakthrough research in the field of diabetes, ranging from nanotechnology, to being the world’s first physician to conduct a successful pancreatic islet cell transplant. His lecture is entitled: “The Perfect Nutritional Storm and Its Effect on Obesity, Chronic Degenerative Diseases and Longevity.” I can’t wait to see his presentation.

After you voted to increase the number of member representatives to the Executive Council (EC), I decided to invite Matt Brengman, MD, to join us as a board member starting March 2016. For those who are not familiar with Matt, besides being an outstanding bariatric surgeon, he has been working endlessly on our behalf, interfacing with insurers, hospital associations, and policy makers to achieve our CPT approvals. Not one month goes by without Matt coming up with significant networking opportunities and letters he writes on behalf of ASMBS to keep our practices going. Please join me in thanking and congratulating Matt for this well deserved honor.

Along the same lines, I also expanded the EC by inviting the current chairs of the Presidents Council, State Chapters, and Private Practice Committees to have “nonvoting seats” and join us on our monthly conference calls. I believe the latter will give our society leaders the opportunity to listen to our members' voices and needs and also provide our membership with transparency in the society’s decision-making process.

Who are your leaders? What do they do every day for us? What does it mean to be elected as committee chair at ASMBS? In an effort to answer these questions, I would like to highlight an important event that occurred on Friday, March 4th, 2016.

Wayne English, MD

Dr. Wayne English, ASMBS Access Committee Chair, received a call from a society member in the state of Missouri, stating that the Bariatric Surgery Local Coverage Determination had surprisingly excluded type 2 diabetes as a comorbidity associated with
severe obesity.

This email triggered an immediate response from Wayne and the Access Committee, with a request for a conference call that Friday to discuss this urgent matter. I was humbled, proud and impressed when at 6 PM the beeps on the phone started to come in.

From state chapter chairs, access committee members, and ASMBS office staff, to our representative on Capitol Hill and and past presidents, everyone got on the phone and committed the time last minute to discuss how to approach this awkward situation. By Saturday morning, a letter was drafted to the Wisconsin Physicians Service Corporation and Medicare Medical Directors. Within days the issue was resolved to the satisfaction of all.

I can’t tell you how comfortable I feel to be a practicing bariatric surgeon in the US having such a great team watching my back. I also have to acknowledge how proud I am to be President of this society, which gives me the privilege to work with such great leaders. Thank you all for an outstanding job!

Finally, I would like to call on all our members to please donate to our PAC. It is not the amount of money, but the fact that you donate and support our initiative that really matters. As of today only 3% of our members have donated to the PAC.

Please go to: https://asmbs.org/obesitypac Password: obesity and make a donation today.

Stay tuned and get engaged. Send us your thoughts and concerns and follow us on Twitter. Enjoy!

Raul :0)