Posted 5/1/2014

Prepared by Christopher Gallagher, ASMBS Washington Representative

June 2nd OCC Advocacy Day

On June 2nd, leaders from the Obesity Care Continuum (OCC) participated in another monthly advocacy day — targeting legislators from the Illinois congressional delegation. OCC leaders urged their legislators to support a sign-on letter to HHS Secretary Sebelius — urging the Department to issue guidance similar to what the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) outlined in March for the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan. In that March 20th guidance, OPM stated that excluding coverage for obesity treatment services based on lifestyle or cosmetic criteria will no longer be permissible.

The OCC continues to search for a Republican House member to join Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) in spearheading this letter to HHS. ASMBS Pennsylvania State Chapter President Mike Bono is working with Representative Lou Barletta (R-PA) as a possible GOP option for the letter.

ASMBS to Comment on Nevada Medicaid Issues

The ASMBS will be submitting comments during June for a June 12th Public Hearing to discuss proposed changes to Nevada’s Medicaid Services Manual. One of the proposed amendments deals with bariatric surgery — specifically about prior authorization requirements. In the ASMBS’s comments, the Society will be highlighting issues that ASMBS has with the state’s pre-care requirements as well as highlighting the latest evidence supporting the efficacy of bariatric surgery.

Access-to-Care Committee Refining State Exchange Strategy

During May and June, ASMBS leaders and members of the Access-to-Care Committee have been refining an advocacy strategy that will be unveiled during the June 18-19 meeting in Miami to help State Chapters more effectively engage their state policy leaders regarding obesity treatment coverage in the state exchange health plans.