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Posted 4/4/2013


  • Obesity Community leaders to Participate in  PCORI Workgroup on Obesity Treatment

  • Obesity Advocates Follow-up with HHS/CCIIO regarding EHB Final Rule

  • Bruce Wolfe, MD, Selected for MEDCAC

  • State News: MA and GA Advocacy Efforts

Editor: Christopher Gallagher, Director of ASMBS Washington Office March, 2013, Volume 3, Issue 4

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Obesity Community leaders to Participate in PCORI Workgroup on Obesity Treatment

On April 16, 2013, there will be strong representation from the obesity community on special Workgroup on Obesity Treatment Options in Diverse Populations, which is being sponsored by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. PCORI s authorized by Congress to conduct research to provide information about the best available evidence to help patients and their health care providers make more informed decisions. PCORI’s research is intended to give patients a better understanding of the prevention, treatment and care options available, and the science that supports those options.

Representatives from the Obesity Community who will be participating in the April 16 Workgroup include ASMBS President-Elect Dr. Ninh Nguyen, ASMBS Access to Care Committee Chair Dr. Wayne English, TOS Past President Dr. Donna Ryan, TOS Advocacy Chair and OAC Board of Directors Vice-Chair Ted Kyle, and OAC President Joe Nadglowski.

The April 16th Workgroup will focus on the following specific topic areas for obesity treatment in diverse populations as areas of potential research funding:

Questions that compare culturally tailored, community-based interventions to improve patient-centered outcomes in obesity treatment for diverse populations.

Questions that identify and compare promising practices that address contextual factors such as socioeconomic, demographic, or community factors and their impact on obesity outcomes.

Questions that compare benefits and risks of surgical, pharmacological, and other medical treatment options.

Questions that compare strategies to overcome patient-, provider-, or systemlevel barriers (eg, language, culture, transportation, homelessness, unemployment, lack of family/caregiver support) that may adversely affect diverse populations with obesity and are relevant to their choices for preventive, diagnostic, and treatment strategies.

Questions that focus on different segments of populations with different obesity parameters or involve patients with additional risk factors.

Obesity Advocates Follow-up with HHS/CCIIO regarding EHB FinalRule

On April 15, 2013, leaders from the obesity community will sit down with key staff in the Department of Health and Human Services’s (HHS) Office of Health Reform and CMS’s Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight to discuss the March 1, 2013 final regulations issued by the federal government regarding state health exchanges and guidelines for state essential health benefit (EHB) benchmark plans as well as final regulations for Multi-State Plans (MSP). The former were issued by HHS and CMS while the latter came out of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

In both cases, large coalitions, spearheaded by the obesity community, submitted comments to these federal agencies encouraging them to adopt regulatory approaches that would ensure patient access to comprehensive evidence-based obesity treatment services. Unfortunately, both HHS and OPM chose to ignore, or not directly respond to the coalition’s comments (December 24, 2012, coalition joint comment letter on EHB proposed rule & January 4, 2013, coalition joint comment letter on MSPs).

The goal of the April 15 meeting will be to secure clear federal guidance regarding coverage of evidence-based obesity treatment services as a medically necessary essential health benefit.

Bruce Wolfe Chosen to Serve on Medicare Evidence Development & Coverage Advisory Committee

On March 20, 2013, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that ASMBS Past President Dr. Bruce Wolfe would be one of several new voting members on the Medicare Evidence Development & Coverage Advisory Committee (MEDCAC).

MEDCAC was established to provide independent guidance and expert advice to CMS on specific clinical topics. This advisory committee is used to supplement CMS’ internal expertise and to allow an unbiased and current deliberation of “state of the art” technology and science. MEDCAC reviews and evaluates medical literature, technology assessments, and examines data and information on the effectiveness and appropriateness of medical items and services that are covered under Medicare, or that may be eligible for coverage under Medicare. MEDCAC judges the strength of the available evidence and makes recommendations to CMS based on that evidence.

CMS selects up to 100 experts in clinical and administrative medicine, biologic and physical sciences, public health administration, patient advocacy, health care data and information management and analysis, health care economics, and medical ethics to serve on the MEDCAC. ASMBS nominated Dr. Wolfe for MEDCAC in 2012 and the Society is pleased that CMS recognized his tremendous contributions over the years as a research scientist in the fields of obesity, comparative effectiveness, and clinical research design methodology.

State News

The obesity community has been moving aggressively at the state level as evidenced by recent advocacy activity in Massachusetts where Obesity Action Coalition advocates are spearheading efforts toward ending weight discrimination in the workplace. Learn more about this campaign and how you can help by visiting the OAC’s Legislative Action Center.

Massachusetts Advocacy Campaign on Weight Discrimination

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