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Posted 9/3/2021

September 2021 Edition

1. Presidential Messages

Shanu Kothari, MD FASMBS and Nate Sann, MSN FNP-BC deliver their monthly Presidential Video Message. Hear about the current state of the Society and upcoming events. 

ASMBS Presidential Message
ASMBS Integrated Health Presidential Message

2. Adult & Pediatric ASMBS Members: Raising Awareness for Childhood Obesity Month

In a year marked by increased awareness of bias and prejudice and two years after the AAP came out with the strongest position statement to date on treating severe obesity in children with bariatric surgery, children with obesity need your help! September 2021 is Childhood Obesity Month. All the complications of obesity affecting adults also affect children, and some even progress more rapidly in children, however, perhaps the cruelest complication is that of weight bias, discrimination, and bullying.
To learn more about Faith Newsome and fighting childhood obesity bias visit OAC or OCEANS

As obesity specialists for whatever age group, each of us are seen by professionals, educators, policy makers, and the lay public as experts on the disease of obesity. So, during September, let us all do our best to start our personal and professional campaign to end weight bias for our children. This lofty goal is achievable one child at a time.

What can you do?

  1. Watch the Integrated Health Keynote Address from the ASMBS 2021 Annual Meeting, delivered by patient advocate, Faith Newsome. Hear first-hand the story of a young woman who had MBS as an adolescent. Her journey is unfortunately very typical but also affirms how important our individual support can be.
  2. Educate yourself continuously on the dangers of weight bias/stigma for children. These actions are beyond “not nice”, they cause physiological disease and psychologic distress. References are below for your thoughtful reading, ready to be used to support your next conversation with colleagues, educators, community leaders, friends and family.
  3. Consider starting a pediatric bariatric surgery program or supporting one in your area of the country. There are many areas where access to care for children with obesity is severely lacking. The American Academy of Pediatrics supports you on this so please support children with obesity.

The children dealing with the disease of obesity are all our children. As we work through our busy days, please try to find one opportunity to advocate for our children. Use your privilege and position to change minds, listen to families, and just make one child a bit better off each day. What a great way to honor Childhood Obesity Month!

Thank you, Janey Pratt, MD FASMBS, Chair, Jeremey Aidlen, MD FACS FAAP, Co-Chair, Jeffrey Zitsman, MD, Co-Chair, and the ASMBS Pediatric Committee

Armstrong SC, Bolling CF, Michalsky MP, Reichard KW; SECTION ON OBESITY, SECTION ON SURGERY. Pediatric Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery: Evidence, Barriers, and Best Practices. Pediatrics. 2019;144(6):e20193223. doi:10.1542/peds.2019-3223

Puhl RM, Lessard LM. Weight Stigma in Youth: Prevalence, Consequences, and Considerations for Clinical Practice. Curr Obes Rep. 2020;9(4):402-411. doi:10.1007/s13679-020-00408-8

Puhl RM, Himmelstein MS, Pearl RL. Weight stigma as a psychosocial contributor to obesity. Am Psychol. 2020;75(2):274-289. doi:10.1037/amp0000538 Palad CJ, Yarlagadda S, Stanford FC. Weight stigma and its impact on paediatric care. Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2019;26(1):19-24. doi:10.1097/MED.0000000000000453

3. Is it time to renew your FASMBS membership?

You may have recently received an email regarding your FASMBS designation. The designation as a "Fellow of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery" is valid for a period of three years after initial application. Designation may be renewed for additional three year terms contingent on the Member’s continued participation in an approved outcomes data reporting program such as MBSAQIP.

You can check your FASMBS designation by logging into your Member Dashboard. If you do not see "FASMBS" on your profile dashboard, it may be time to renew. To renew your FASMBS membership or apply for a new FASMBS membership, please click here. For further assistance, please contact

4. ASMBS Foundation Updates

The ASMBS Foundation has awarded 2 research grants totaling $50,000 to study the effects of obesity on COVID-19 infections in adolescents and the increasing use of adult cannabis during and after the pandemic and its potential impact on weight loss outcomes following bariatric surgery. "These latest grants are for studies on the impact of COVID-19 and emerging areas of interest that have thus far received little scientific study", said Paul Enochs, President, ASMBS Foundation.

Additionally, Paul Enochs announced that the 2021 LEAD Awards will be presented in person on October 10, 2021, during the IFSO Conference. 

5. Advocacy & Access to Care Updates

OCC September 2021 Advocacy Report

In this report, prepared by Chris Gallagher, OCC Washington Representative: Support for TROA Nears 100, OCAN Leaders Meet with Director of CMS’ Center for Medicare, and more.

See the latest OCC Advocacy Report for more information regarding other national advocacy efforts that ASMBS is pursuing. 

Policy Updates from the ATC Committee

Georgia State Health Benefit Plan to Cover Bariatric Surgery Starting in 2022

Congratulations to Dr. Renee Hilton, ASMBS Access to Care Co-Chair, and the ASMBS Georgia State Chapter!

On Thursday, August 12th, the DCH (Department of Community Health) of Georgia voted to reinstate bariatric coverage. As of January 1, 2022 bariatric coverage will be back in the State Health Benefit Plan for Georgia state employees. Open enrollment for plans starts in October and impacts about 500,000 covered lives. The State Health Benefit Plan covers state employees, teachers, public school employees, members of assembly, retirees, and their dependents. Dr. Hilton shared that this was done with significant guidance from Governor Brian Kemp. Source: DCH Board Meeting

Oklahoma Medicaid – Major Policy Revisions

Oklahoma Health Care Authority, which manages its Medicaid program, made major PROGRESSIVE revisions to their bariatric policy. Click to read the 2021 and 2017 policies (they revised the policy after a 4 year gap). The 2021 policy goes into effect on September 1st. Oklahoma Medicaid has ~320,000 adult covered lives source.


  • Removed the criteria that a person should have had obesity for 5 years!
  • Expanded coverage to include low BMI (30-35) with “2 comorbidities” or “dysmetabolic syndrome” or “difficult to control diabetes”
  • Removed the 6 month pre-op medical weight loss criteria
  • All ASMBS endorsed procedures are covered
  • Added requirement that surgeons will have to be ASMBS fellows or from a MBSAQIP program
  • Approved for age group 15 to 65 years
  • Significantly expanded the list of comorbidities that would qualify for coverage

Source: OHCA Guideline

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