Posted 6/27/2013

Dear ASMBS members,

CMS has released their proposed decision on the COE/Accreditation requirement for Medicare patients on June 27, 2013:

Proposed Decision Memo for Bariatric Surgery for the Treatment of Morbid Obesity – Facility Certification Requirement (CAG-00250R3)

The CMS proposal relates: “In light of the lack of sufficient evidence that the certified/COE bariatric facilities have provided improved outcomes in Medicare beneficiaries since the 2006 NCD, CMS proposes to eliminate the requirement for facility certification/COE designation. Given the history of two accreditation programs (i.e., the ASMBS and the ACS) as well as the ongoing establishment of a unified accreditation program by these two professional societies, we feel it is important the surgical community at large should continue to explore, define and measure the utility of bariatric surgery facility accreditation and quality improvement initiatives. In particular, we continue to be focused on outcomes, especially longer-term outcomes.”

The ASMBS leadership will prepare a vigorous response. All private payers indicate their willingness to continue to have an accreditation process, and we will continue our process. Medicare represents only 5-6% of the total bariatric surgery cases. In sum, patients and payers should value the benefits of an accredited center. The comment period will end July 26th, 2013.

We will keep you updated on this.

Jaime Ponce, MD, FACS, FASMBS

President, American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery