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Posted 8/5/2019

August 2019 Edition

1. Letter From the President

Greetings to all! Hope you are getting by during these "dog days" of August wherever you live. The big news for August is that REGISTRATION FOR OBESITYWEEK 2019 IN LAS VEGAS IS OPEN!

There is an early registration discount for those who register before August 23rd.

It’s nomination season at ASMBS – time for our membership to vote for a new group of leaders to serve as Executive Council members-at-large and also to choose our next Secretary-Treasurer who will ascend to be President-elect and then President of the ASMBS. The list of eligible candidates has been reduced to those who are willing to give up their time in service to the organization for the next few years and this list has been distributed via email to our membership. We have 6 candidates interested in the Secretary-Treasurer position which is the track to the ASMBS presidency and 42 candidates for the 3 open member-at-large positions on the Executive Council. At this point we are waiting to see who is nominated by our membership in order to determine who is eligible to be considered for the final ballot for membership voting.

Our society is somewhat unique in that we hold a general election in which the entire membership is asked to choose our leadership from the qualified candidates on the ballot. Many organizations put forward just one individual for each open position, giving the membership little choice in their selection. Our society members are given a choice of candidates with up to 3 proposed for each open position. I think this is a fundamental difference between our society and many others in that the general membership maintains a strong voice in the future direction of the society by their votes in our officer elections.
Our nominations committee has a big job ahead- assessing these qualified individuals and putting together a slate of candidates for us to choose from. This year our nominations committee is chaired by Past-President Stacy Brethauer, MD, and I have every confidence that Stacy and his Co-Chair Samer Mattar, MD, will do an outstanding job leading this committee on behalf of our organization.

There is another nominations process going on currently- the ASMBS Foundation has requested nominations for the LEAD awards to be given out in November at the Foundation Gala on Wednesday, November 6th. The Foundation is accepting nominations from any member for the following awards:

  • Outstanding Achievement
  • Dr. Ronald Clements Patient Safety & Quality
  • Master Educator
  • Excellence in Nutrition
  • Surgical Innovation
  • Excellence in Clinical Care
  • Distinguished Industry Partner

Please use the following link to submit your nomination(s) and to research the criteria, award descriptions, and also past winners-

PLEASE MAKE YOUR NOMINATIONS TODAY! It’s important that we reward members who have worked hard to excel- they deserve your support!
The Deadline to Submit a Nomination is August 8, 2019
It’s easy- takes no time at all to complete a nomination.

I would like to announce a key publication in SOARD which is the ASMBS position statement on weight bias and stigma. Our organization is overdue to have a strong statement about the dangers of bias and prejudice regarding our patients who struggle with the disease of obesity. I am indebted to our writing group team from Clinical Issues Committee including Clinical Issues Co-Chair Dan Eisenberg, MD, Sabrena Noria, MD, PhD, Brandon Grover, DO, Kasey Goodpaster, PhD, and Clinical Issues Chair, Ann Rogers, MD, for tackling this difficult topic and writing a position statement for the society that clearly lays out our viewpoint regarding this issue.

Finally, I want to mention our Bariatric Endoscopy BE-SAFE program. In this issue of the Top 5 on the 5th, the leaders of the ASMBS/SAGES BE-SAFE program have written an overview of the program, the rationale, and the process you must follow in order to become verified in Bariatric Endoscopy. This program provides a certificate that you can use to demonstrate your successful acquisition of appropriate Bariatric Endoscopy skills for your hospital, outpatient center, credentialing staff office or other facility. We are planning on a certifying lab session at ObesityWeek in Las Vegas to be held Monday afternoon, November 4th. We currently have 148 members who have registered for the BE-SAFE program and therefore expressed their interest in completing the verification process. We will have limited number of openings for registrants who wish to have their skills verified in the Las Vegas lab so it’s important to register right away for this session if you would like to complete the BE-SAFE verification process in Vegas. Remember you have to watch the videos and take the written test in order to qualify for the skills lab verification- -it’s not too late to get started on the process but don’t wait too long!

I hope everyone enjoys the rest of the summer and also that you find a way to take some vacation time too!

Eric J. DeMaria, MD,
ASMBS President

2. Register for the Annual Meeting at ObesityWeek!

Registration for the 36th ASMBS Annual Meeting at ObesityWeek 2019 is NOW OPEN! Join 4,000+ surgeons, integrated health members, and obesity experts in Las Vegas! Be sure to register with your username to receive the exclusive member rate! If you do not remember your username or have any questions, please email us at Click here to register now.

3. BE-SAFE Certification Offered at ObesityWeek

Endoscopy is an important part of a comprehensive metabolic and bariatric surgery practice. These techniques have always been important in the preoperative evaluation and postoperative management of patients to diagnosis pathology and plan surgical intervention. Also multiple studies have demonstrated endoscopy to be effective for management of complications. Increasingly, endoscopic techniques have been applied to both revisional and primary endoluminal endoscopic procedures.

Due to the increasing application of endoscopic techniques in the initial evaluation, management of complications, and primary as well as revisional procedures, the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery along with the Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons, has together created an in-depth learning program to improve surgeons overall technical skills and knowledge base.

The BE-SAFE program is a joint certification program between ASMBS and SAGES to promote skill acquistion and competency in bariatric endoscopic procedures. We are proud to announce that at ObesityWeek 2019 in Las Vegas, and at the annual SAGES Meeting 2020 in Cleveland, the opportunity to test for BE-SAFE certification will be available.

BE-SAFE certification includes a series of online didactic videos for content review available to all members of ASMBS. Once this is complete, candidates are then asked to take a multiple choice exam. Once this is passed successfully, candidates then will be evaluated by a proctored hands-on course at our meeting. Upon successful completion of the multiple choice exam and the hands on skills assessment, candidates will be awarded an official BE-SAFE certification.

We expect that this certification not only allows our members access to cutting edge techniques for management of bariatric surgical patients, but also provide a benchmark for endoscopic skills. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact Jennifer Wynn at

4. IH Presidential Message

It’s hard to believe it’s August already. But what that means is, an email for nominations for Integrated Health Awards (i.e. Certified Bariatric Nurse, Distinguished Behavioral Health Provider and Distinguished Advanced Practice Provider) will be sent any day now. Please consider sending in your nominations for a co-worker or colleague within ASMBS you feel deserves and should be considered for the award. And if you haven’t already submitted a nominee for the Circle of Excellence, be sure to send that in as well – the deadline is rapidly approaching.

If you are confused by all these awards and what the difference is between them, here’s a brief explanation/description:

  • Circle of Excellence (COE) – given to a deserving provider who exemplifies compassion and dedication to care of the metabolic and bariatric surgery patient, as well as executes the visions and goals of the integrated health science section.
  • Distinguished Certified Bariatric Nurse (CBN) – given to a Certified Bariatric Nurse who has made an extraordinary effort to promote the values of CBN: Compassion, Advocacy, Research, and Education.
  • Distinguished Behavioral Health Provider – given to a behavioral health member who has made an extraordinary effort to promote the values of behavioral health: Clinical Excellence, Advocacy, Research, and Education. The candidate serves as a role model in the four core areas and promotes the values of metabolic and bariatric behavioral health with other colleagues, hospital administrators, and other organizations.
  • Distinguished Advanced Practice Provider – given to an advanced practice provider who has made an extraordinary effort to promote and further the practice of advanced health care providers in the specialty of metabolic and bariatric surgery beyond the role in the multidisciplinary team/program.

Keep your eyes open… Integrated Health Executive Council nominations are right around the corner. Please submit a nomination for eligible members you would like to represent IH in ASMBS leadership.

In the meantime, enjoy the remainder of the summer. I look forward to seeing you in November at the ASMBS Annual Meeting in Las Vegas!

5. NEW Video: Billing and Coding for the Bariatric Surgeon

The Community/Independent Practice Committee presents a new video in their Private Practice Solutions Video Series. Dr. Christopher Crawford shares tips and tricks about how to bill and code for sustaining a viable private practice. Watch now.

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