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Posted 6/5/2019

June 2019 Edition

1. Letter From the President

Greetings ASMBS Members-

I am excited to be writing to everyone as our June meeting rapidly approaches! Months of planning are about to come together for what I expect will be one of the best ASMBS Weekend meetings ever! My hat is off to Drs. Rich Peterson and John Scott, Program Chair and Co-Chair for their tireless efforts to make the Weekend unforgettable for all who attend. There are so many program highlights it is difficult to include them all here, but I will try to mention some of the most appealing. First let me also say we have received tremendous and enthusiastic support from industry to put on this meeting. Our industry sponsors, the ASMBS Corporate Council and our exhibitors have stepped up and will have a significant presence and many things to show our membership. Of course, our announced theme of debating the role of robotics in bariatric surgery has attracted tremendous interest from the membership and I am particularly looking forward to Friday’s Interactive Symposium on Robotics to be led by Dr. Mona Misra and myself in which we plan to confront the truly complex questions around the value proposition for robotics in our field. As I have said so many times since we chose this topic- At what other meeting should bariatric surgeons be discussing / debating the role of robotics in our specialty? The answer in my mind is that ASMBS is without question the place for us to meet and have this important discussion!

But if you are expecting a robotic meeting, I think you will be surprised since there is so much more planned. Kudos to all the Course Directors and Speakers! We have a world-class faculty of more than 80 individuals who will speak on a wide variety of topics. We had a record number of abstract and video submissions for this meeting which will bring in so many people doing cutting edge research. If you are primarily interested in networking with colleagues, we are still running way ahead of last year’s attendance figures which will facilitate your ability to connect with even more of your colleagues. Other sessions that I expect to be very informative include the High BMI Patient– making choices in the era of ‘one and done’ insurance, the MBSAQIP course “Building on a Tradition of Quality”, and the popular symposium on complication management to be held Saturday called “Forgive and Remember: Confessions and Lessons”, a topic of discussion which is always of great interest to our membership. There is also a symposium entitled “GERD, Barrett’s, and Sleeve Gastrectomy: Separating Fact from Fiction” which I would strongly encourage all members to attend for a deep dive into the controversial topic of the long-term risk of Barrett’s after sleeve. All of us need to keep an eye on this literature in order to figure out how to best care for our patients.

As a wrap up session on Saturday June 22, at 3:15pm we invite you to join your colleagues and patients as we walk together down Grand Avenue to raise awareness on the obesity epidemic and treatment options to help with this complex disease. This March with the Surgeons is sponsored by the ASMBS Foundation and the proceeds will go towards the Foundation’s national Walk from Obesity program which works with bariatric practices across the country to raise awareness about obesity.

Finally, with the help of Dr. Joe Northup, Chair of our Access to Care Committee and others we have also put together a very timely symposium on Bundled Care Payments in response to the CMS call for applications due June 24th. Although ASMBS is not taking sides in the debate over whether our members should apply to the CMS program, we do want to help our members to learn what they need to know in order to navigate this complex payment structure as well as the critical process of cost assessment which ultimately determines whether a bundled payment will be profitable for a given hospital, practice or provider.

As a reminder I will briefly review the situation regarding CMS’ bundled payment application. Members who choose to participate must complete the CMS application as an Episode Initiator (EI) by June 24th

Here is the direct link to the CMS website for the application for BCPI-A*

Surgeons who apply will receive their own cost data directly from CMS along with the CMS target pricing proposal. Clearly having your own cost data will assist you in interpreting the target pricing CMS provides. Members who do not choose to apply will neither receive these data nor be given access to the target pricing data. Finally, members who do apply can drop out of the program at a later date, but it is likely that CMS will not allow new applicants to join the program for some as yet undetermined period of time.

To aid our membership in this arena of Bundled Payments, we will hold a 2 hour symposium on Saturday, June 22, in Chicago entitled “Bundled Payments: Preparing for what could be our future”. This symposium will focus on understanding bundled payment programs including the advantages and disadvantages of such programs as well as how to assess your costs and develop this type of payment program.

Members who attend the June 22 symposium should still be able to submit the CMS application as an Episode Initiator by June 24th as it is only requires about a 15-minute time commitment to complete.

However, to be certain we reach as many members as possible I am also asking Joe Northup to host a webinar for our members to introduce them to the concepts of Bundled Payments. Please keep your eye on your email for announcement of this webinar which will be scheduled next week so members who are struggling with the concept of applying to CMS can hopefully get the guidance they need in time to fill out the application due to CMS by June 24.

I am looking forward to seeing everyone in Chicago in just 15 short days— It should be a memorable meeting in many ways!

Eric J. DeMaria, MD, ASMBS President

* This has a link to the application as well as several applicant resources. Basically, the surgeons have to apply as an Episode Initiator (EI). The EI has to function under the umbrella of a Conveyer for the bundle. The Conveyor is the responsible party for the bundle (collects the funds, pays out the involved parties, assumes the risk for outlier costs, etc.). The application to be an EI is fairly simple and requires the surgeon’s NPI number and must list at least one Conveyor. There are numerous options for this as the conveyer could be the hospital, health system or a 3rd party group (Remedy, Levitt Partners, Archway health, etc.) The conveyor would have to fill out an extensive 28 page application. The recommendation is for surgeons to list themselves under several conveyors on the initial application, as there is no guarantee which conveyers will be selected until November. Many of them however are already conveyers for orthopedics.

2. ASMBS Weekend

With ASMBS Weekend just a little over two weeks away, we’re giving you a quick checklist of everything you should know about our upcoming spring meeting.

1. Don’t Miss the NEW Bundled Session

Bundled Payments: Preparing for What Could be our Future is a just-added course that will educate and prepare surgeons to understand, develop, and create a Bundled Payment Program. Stick around Saturday afternoon for this last course of the weekend to hear about the advantages and disadvantages of Bundled Payments systems. View the schedule and register now:

2. Visit the Exhibit Hall

Connect with our 30+ Table Top Exhibitors. Lunch, as well as morning and afternoon coffee breaks, will be held in the Exhibit Hall. Be sure to stop by all the booths and thank our industry partners for being a part of this important event and their support in the prevention, treatment, and research of obesity.

3. Attend the Welcome Reception

Meet with peers and ASMBS leadership at the Welcome Reception on Friday night. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will also be served. Other networking opportunities include our sponsored breakfast symposium on Friday and Saturday and our sponsored evening reception after the Welcome Reception on Friday.

4. Show your support at March with the Surgeons

There is still time to register for ASMBS Foundation’s March with the Surgeons Walk on Saturday after the conclusion of the meeting. Join your colleagues and local bariatric patients for a celebratory walk down Chicago’s Grand Avenue to raise awareness of obesity! Register online at

3. National Bariatric Nurses Day


Nineteen years ago, I started my first Nurse Practitioner job in the field of bariatric surgery. Eighteen years ago, I joined the American Society for Bariatric Surgery (ASBS – now known as ASMBS) as an Allied Health (now known as Integrated Health) Associate Member at the recommendation of the surgeons I worked with. A lot has changed since I first joined, but through those changes I have maintained my membership and have become actively involved within the science section of IH and most recently have been the IH President for the last two years.

Membership in ASMBS has given me the knowledge, the education, the confidence, the many many colleagues and the opportunities to grow both personally and professionally. There is a lot more that membership has given, and continues to give including but not limited to… accesss to members-only documents and resources, ASMBS Facebook Group for IH members, discounted registration to the ASMBS Annual Meeting at ObesityWeek and ASMBS Weekend, membership to the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders (IFSO) and the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), discounted subscription to Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases (SOARD), email alerts related to metabolic and bariatric surgery, and countless networking opportunities with other Integrated Health Professionals working in the field.

You too can be a member. If you are not a member now, or have let your membership lapse – or if you have a colleague that would like to join, please apply through this link:

Come join the ASMBS team of Integrated Health and make a difference for your career, your program, and for your patients.

National Metabolic and Bariatric Nurses Day

Congratulations to Vicky Blackard who spearheaded a campaign to recognize and designate June 10th as National Metabolic and Bariatric Nurses Day – which just so happens to be the date of the first Certified Bariatric Nurses exam. Ms. Blackard has been working diligently behind the scenes with Congressman Gus Bilirakis to establish June 10, 2019, as a day to celebrate the role of metabolic and bariatric nurses in the State of Florida and nationally. Next steps are to work with the American Nurses Association to publish as a nurse speciality day.

If any other Integrated Health discipline is interested in establishing a day of recognition, Ms. Blackard is more than happy to assist with the process. Please feel free to send an email to with your interest.

Karen Flanders, MSN, ARNP, CBN, IH President

4. The OAC Unveils a New Action Center!

Brought to you by the Access to Care Committee. The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) is excited to announce we have a new Action Center! It is designed to take on issues such as access to care and weight bias head-on as well as actions that spread awareness and education about the disease of obesity.

Actions can be big or small and the OAC Action Center is full of ideas to get anyone started. Visit and explore our four main action pages:

  • Access and Policy Issues: We believe that everyone should have access to science-based obesity treatment. The OAC works to help make government policies for treatment coverage and research. In this section, you can take action to improve access to care by helping policy makers see the need for policy changes!
  • Weight Bias Issues: Weight bias happens when negative attitudes and discrimination is aimed at people because of their weight. In this section, you can find ways to help end weight bias. Your actions can see help spread education about the disease of obesity as well as the importance of using People-first Language and non-stigmatizing images.
  • Ongoing Actions: On this page, you will find a list of efforts that move the work of OAC forward and create a better world for people affected by obesity. Suggested actions include:
    • Sharing OAC’s educational resources in your local community.
    • Reposting our social media content.
    • Encouraging others to join the OAC Community.
  • Report Issues? In this section, you will find our Reporting Tool. This tool can be used to share access and weight bias issues or submit reports of positive experiences. This allows the OAC to be up-to-date on key issues that individuals are facing in their everday lives.

All actions can help cause change and no action needs to be hard to do. The OAC works to make taking action easy and create real change.

5. NEW Video: Ancillary Revenue Streams For Your Bariatric Surgery Practice

The Community/Independent Practice Committee presents a new video in their Private Practice Solutions Video Series. Dr. Carl Pesta discusses the two-fold benefits of adding cosmetic surgery to your practice. He explains how you can further help your bariatric patients while increasing your revenue stream. Watch Now

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