A Note From the President

Published in September Issue             

Friends and Colleagues,

I want to update you on an important event that our society members and leadership recently participated in. On August 30, 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) convened a panel of the Medicare Evidence Development & Coverage Advisory Committee (MEDCAC). This meeting focused on obtaining the MEDCAC's recommendations regarding the appraisal of the state of evidence for health outcomes in the Medicare population for surgical and endoscopic bariatric procedures.

Under the leadership of Drs. Eric DeMaria and John Morton, we put together a tremendous team of experts to present the data supporting all aspects of our specialty. From weight bias to long-term outcomes to endoscopic therapy, we had a team of 15 surgeons, physicians, and advocates speaking on your behalf.

The MEDCAC is an advisory body to CMS and makes recommendations regarding the data presented to them. The ultimate outcome of the meeting is still unclear. One thing that was clear was that they want more data regarding bariatric surgery in the Medicare population. This is something we can develop within MBSAQIP as we are currently revising the data variables to include the type of insurance coverage for patients in the database. Expanding coverage for endoluminal therapy and BMI 30-35 are still uphill battles for us and we need to continue to report high level data for these areas as well.

The key message here is that when we are challenged as a specialty or a society to support what we do, we always have an overwhelming response. On fairly short notice a large group of busy surgeons put together presentations and took time away from their practices to prove to CMS that what we do is safe, effective, and durable. It is that dedication, persistence, and passion that convinces me that we will eventually get our message across to the rest of the world.

I hope to see you in D.C. at our annual ASMBS meeting at Obesity Week. The program is great and we had a record number of abstracts submitted to the scientific program this year. The annual meeting is the lifeblood of our society so please make an effort to attend, get your CME’s, and catch up with friends.

Best wishes,