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Posted 2/17/2015

John Morton, ASMBS President

From ASMBS President John Morton, MD

I want to wish everyone a Happy and Prosperous New Year. As we begin 2015, I am excited for our opportunity to improve the health and welfare of our patients. Much is expected of ASMBS in leading our efforts against the AMA-recognized disease of obesity and my hope and belief is that much will be provided by ASMBS.

As we begin 2015, it is fitting and proper to establish our collective ASMBS aspirations. Our priorities for 2015 will include:

  1. Increasing access and coordination of care for bariatric surgery
  2. Mainstreaming bariatric surgery
  3. Enlarging membership and member value
  4. Raising ASMBS committee and taskforce through-put
  5. Providing for an enduring ASMBS mission

I will need your help in the months to come and really want to encourage you to become involved in our society by becoming an active member through our 25 committees, taskforces and integrated health membership. Please let me know if you want to join – We need your help!

10 Taskforces

  • Obesity Summit
  • Tipping Point (Motivational Video, Patient Portal, ObesityWeek Oscars)
  • ASMBS Foundation Essentials of Bariatric Surgery, Bariatric Certification, China
  • Compensation, Numbers, Revision, Decreasing Readmission through Opportunities Provided

14 Committees/Membership

  • Access to Care, Clinical Issues, Public Education, Communications
  • Emerging Technology and Procedures, Insurance, Patient Safety, Bariatric Surgery Training
  • Research, Program, State Chapters, Military Task Force
  • International Development, Pediatric Surgery

Integrated Health

  • Increasing Access Patient, Payor, Physician Engagement

Patient Engagement

Given our stellar track record in safety and effectiveness, our next mission is to increase access for this needed therapy. A treatment gap exists for the obese patient and patient engagement is critical with 18 million qualified surgical candidates and 180,000 cases done annually. We hope that patients will be motivated to seek surgery after viewing the below motivational video, debuted by our Immediate Past- President Dr. Ninh Nguyen at ObesityWeek 2014.

The video demonstrates the powerful benefit bariatric surgery provides and this message is borne by three pillars of authority in the US: a nurse, military veteran and an NFL player. What binds them all is a belief that change is needed and that bariatric surgery provided them a success story.

Please watch the video and most importantly, PLEASE SHARE THE VIDEO. The video is available for all to use and there are no copyright issues. We are placing it in the public domain. No specific surgeon or program is mentioned; so, this video can and should be used by everyone.


Here is how you can use the video.

  1. Embed the web address below into your email signature and on your program and hospital websites.
  2. Download the video and share with your colleagues and patients.
  3. Share it on social media – twitter, linkedin, facebook.

Other patient engagement initiatives include creating a Patient Portal – This Time It Counts on the ASMBS website to allow patients to upload their own success stories.

Payor Engagement

We have made great progress in coverage (46 states with state employee coverage, 49 states with Medicaid coverage, and full Medicare coverage). Our next goal is bariatric surgery coverage in all 50 states through the Affordable Care Act’s Essential Health Benefit. We currently have coverage in 22 states and the Access Committee led by Dr. Wayne English is spearheading an effort to secure coverage everywhere. Please look at their efforts here,

Physician Engagement

Obesity Week-End in Las Vegas @ Caesar’s Palace, June 27-29, 2015

  • Live Surgery, Revisional Surgery, Intra-Gastric Balloon Course, Integrating Medical Management into a Bariatric Surgery Practice, MBSAQIP Clinical Reviewers Course

ObesityWeek in Los Angeles, November 2-7, 2015

  • Low BMI, Emerging Technology, Anesthesia, Plastic Surgery Courses
  • Live Surgery, Revisional Surgery, Intra-Gastric Balloon Course, Integrating Medical Management into a Bariatric Surgery Practice
  • Mason Lecture, Presidential Address
  • LA Community Project

I want to make myself available to your needs and concerns and you can reach me at the below email address. We can also communicate through Twitter(@jmortonmd), LinkedIn and email, or

Looking forward to a great 2015!

P.S. Please see below an important ASMSB/SAGES joint announcement regarding Telementoring Initiative led by Dr. Ninh Nguyen.

Announcing SAGES Sleeve Gastrectomy Telementoring Preceptorship

For the first time in the US, through a generous educational grant from the American Medical Foundation for Peer Review and Education, SAGES and ASMBS announce a novel preceptorship and proctoring program for improvement of skills in sleeve gastrectomy, utilizing telementoring.

The preceptorship is open to bariatric surgeons in the US performing sleeve gastrectomy who wish to apply for a mentorship, and by doing so, participate in a performance improvement program. The qualifying surgeon applicant must have some experience and be actively performing sleeve gastrectomy procedures.

Since the necessity of travel is the major limiting step in the preceptorship or proctoring process, this telementoring program is expected to eliminate the drawbacks of travel and time away from work and family.

SAGES would like to acknowledge the following Industry partners and institutions for their in-kind contributions to this program: Box Line Box, Karl Storz Endoscopy, Montefiore.

There is NO fee for the preceptorship. The telementoring technology consists of two-way video and live audio communication.

The application deadline is February 15, 2015. If you have interest in this telementoring project, please complete an application here For additional information, contact

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