Menu button

Please note that the Access to Care Committee is not accepting new member applications at this time. Committee membership is currently by appointment only.

Michael Seger, MD FASMBS

Renee Hilton, MD FASMBS

Margaret Inman, MD FASMBS

Darren Tishler, MD FACS FASMBS

Joseph Northup, MD FASMBS
Immediate Past Chair & Executive Council Liaison

ASMBS Staff Liaison

Leslie Vinson


Nicholas Brown, MD
David L. Chengelis, MD
Tuesday Cook, MD FACS DABOM (Diversity & Inclusion Committee Liaison)
Christopher Crawford, MD FASMBS (Insurance Committee Chair)
Christopher Daigle, MD FRCSC FACS FASMBS (State Chapters Committee Chair)
Pamela Davis, RN BSN MBA CBN

Maher El Chaar, MD
Wayne English, MD FACS FASMBS, Senior Past Chair
Linden Karas, MD
John Kelly, MD FACS
Colleen Kennedy, MD MBA FASMBS
Shanu Kothari, MD FASMBS Teresa LaMasters, MD FACS FASMBS DABOM Jamie Loggins, MD FACS

John Morton, MD FASMBS, Senior Past Chair
Fady Moustarah, MD MPH FASMBS
Blake Movitz, MD
Carl Pesta, DO FASMBS
Joshua Pfeiffer, MD FASMBS
Nancy Puzziferri, MD MS FACS DABOM
John D. Scott, MD FASMBS, Senior Past Chair
Lloyd Stegemann, MD FASMBS
Michael Cook, MD FASMBS (Insurance Committee Co-Chair)

Regional Super STARS and STARS (State Access to Care Representatives)

Super STAR Northeast Region — Matthew Hutter, MD MPH FASMBS
CT — Neil Floch, MD
MA — Sheila Partridge, MD FASMBS
ME — Open
NH — Robert Catania, MD FASMBS
NY — William O’Malley, MD
RI — Siva Vithiananthan, MD FASMBS
VT — Patrick Forgione, MD
All New New England — Melissa Page, MS RD CSOWM LDN (IH)

Super STAR Mid Atlantic Region — Guilherme Campos, MD FASMBS
DE — Rahul Singh, MD FACS FASMBS
MD — Joseph Greene, MD MBA
NJ — Michael Bilof, MD FASMBS
NC/SC — Keri Seymour, DO; Jaime Bull, PA-C
PA — Maria Altieri, MD MS; Cynthia Hipszer, RN MSN CNML CBN (IH)
VA/WV — Gregory Adams, MD FACS; Nathaniel Sann, MSN CRNP FNP-BC (IH)

Super STAR Southeast Central Region — Brandon Williams, MD FASMBS
AL — Todd Foreman, MD FASMBS
FL — Dennis Smith, MD FASMBS; Vicky Blackard, RN MBA/HCM CBN (IH)
GA — Aaron Bolduc, MD; Maria Immonen, MSN RN CNL CBN (IH)
KY — Joshua Steiner, MD
OH — John Zografakis, MD FASMBS
TN — Jessica Ardila-Gatas, MD

Super STAR Upper Midwest Region — Luke Funk, MD MPH FASMBS
IA — Matthew Christopherson, MD
IL — Juaquito Jorge, MD
IN — Ambar Banerjee, MD FASMBS; Sarah Muntel, RD (IH)
KS — Robert Aragon, MD
MI — Amy Somerset, MD & Michael Wood, MD; Colleen Buda, PA-C CSOWM (IH)
MN — Geoffrey Fasen, MD MS; Hannah Osterndorf, LD (IH)
MO — Christopher Eagon, MD FASMBS; Angela Britt, BC (IH)
NE — Gary Anthone, MD FASMBS
WI — Luke Funk, MD MPH FASMBS & Brandon Grover, DO FASMBS

Super STAR Lower Midwest Region — Robert O. Carpenter, MD MPH FASMBS
AR — Tripurari Mishra, MD; Shirley Bearden, RN CBN (IH)
CO — Matthew Metz, MD
LA — Shauna Levy, MD MS FACS; Laura Boyer, FNP C CBN (IH)
MS — Jennifer O’Flarity, RN BSN
NM — Fermin Fontan, MD
OK — Roy Greenway, Jr., MD; Carah Horn, MBA-HCA BSN RN
TX — Tanyaradzwa Kajese, MD FASMBS

Super STAR Northwest Region — Valerie Halpin, MD FASMBS
AK — Michael Todd, MD
ID — Cory Richardson, MD FASMBS
MT — John Pender, MD
ND — Ellen Vogels, DO
OR — Derek Rogalsky, MD; Greg Showell, RN (IH)
SD — Kristin Turek, CNP
WA — Mohan Mallipeddi, MD
WY — Kevin Helling, MD

Super STAR Southwest Region — Ajay Upadhyay, MD FACS FRCS
AZ — Christine Lovato, MD FASMBS; Lauren Pellizzon, MS RD (IH)
CA — Ajay Upadhyay, MD FACS FRCS
HI — Steven Fowler, MD FASMBS
NV — Open
UT — Eric Volckmann, MD FASMBS

Industry AD Hoc Appointed

Ishita Doshi – Ethicon
Maria Thompson – Ethicon
Scott Wolven – Ethicon
Andrew Zebrak – Intuitive Surgical
Santosh Agarwal – Medtronic
Gina Baldo – Medtronic
Linda Richetelli-Pepe, Medtronic
Jamie Glonek – Novo Nordisk
Maggie Irwin – Novo Nordisk
Ginger Papesh – Novo Nordisk
Bridget Slusarek – Novo Nordisk

Joe Nadglowski – Obesity Action Coalition
W. Scott Butsch, MD MSc – The Obesity Society
Jeanine Sherman – ProCare Health
Chris Gallagher – Potomac Currents
Paul Hickey – ReShape Lifesciences
Walter Lindstrom, JD – ReShape Lifesciences
Nina Crowley – SECA

State Chapter Map


The Access to Care Committee has the principal mission to assist patients affected by metabolic disease and obesity in 1) obtaining appropriate, safe, and effective medical care, 2) to improve the care and treatment of people with obesity, and 3) to advocate for the health care policy that ensures patient access to high quality prevention and treatment of obesity.


Committee activities include: developing the strategic vision and strategies to make improvement in access to care; advocating for legislative changes on the state and local level that will affect health care coverage; addressing the politics, policies and ethics of access issues on the local, state and national levels; and bringing together initiatives/partners to effectively address access issues.


  • Increase awareness of access issues and progress among public and members
  • Identify reasonable targets for progress in short, mid, and long-term

Committee Goals


  1. Support the OAC’s annual Obesity Care Week
  2. Support the ASMBS Foundation’s annual Walk from Obesity
  3. Support our members during the COVID-19 Pandemic
  4. Monitor insurance companies’ policy updates and support our members in regard to those requirements that impede their patients’ access to care regarding bariatric surgery with the assistance of our industry partners


  1. Access to Care Session at ASMBS Annual Meeting 2022
  2. Outpatient/Same Day Surgery
  3. Utilization Subcommittee


  1. Help the OAC build their membership via OAC Patient Advocacy
  2. Maintain the ASMBS Access to Care Facebook page and utilize DocMatter to disseminate information to members
  3. More legislative efforts
  4. Assist the ObesityPAC with State Chapter Advocacy Day Grants
  5. Continue tracking commercial payors and their coverage of bariatric surgery
  6. Continue efforts to improve State Health Exchange coverage – convert 27 “No” states to “Yes” states
  7. Continue state employee coverage in all 50 states; monitor any new pilot programs
  8. Medicaid coverage in all 50 States; only Montana remains
  9. Continue support of the passage of the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act
  10. Continue advocacy presence and response to healthcare changes
  11. Continue monitoring and responding to regulatory changes affecting ACA patient protections
  12. Advocacy efforts tracking
  13. Bundled Payments
  14. Encourage our members to become AMA members
  15. Continue support of our members during the COVID-19 Pandemic
  16. Utilize the STAR and Super STAR Network more effectively, adding Integrated Health STARs, and involving State Chapter Presidents
Specific Projects that Achieve Goals and Objectives:
  1. Monthly reminders about Obesity Care Weeks
  2. Member participation in the Virtual Hill Visit Advocacy Days, which focused again on supporting passage of the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act
  3. Monthly reminders to members to host an ASMBS Foundation Virtual Walk from Obesity
  4. Author, sign on, and send COVID-related (i.e., telehealth, insurance deductibles) letters to the Medical Directors of the top 25 insurance companies
  5. “Advocacy & Access to Care” section in the Top 5 on the 5th to announce updated insurance policies
  6. Dissemination of updated state-specific insurance policies to State Chapters
  7. Creation of a database to assess commercial insurance coverage with the assistance of our industry partners – live on the OAC website January 2022


  1. Planning the Access to Care Session at ASMBS Annual Meeting 2022
  2. A group is being formed to address outpatient/same day surgery requirements to prepare for responses; and possibly write a position statement
  3. Organize a targeted approach to reaching the “other 98%” of patients who have coverage but do not utilize it


  1. Monthly Access to Care Committee calls
  2. Mid-month Access to Care conference calls with Chair, Co-Chairs, ASMBS Liaison, OAC President, and our Washington Lobbyist to discuss issues that arise in between monthly calls
  3. Monthly updates from the OAC President
  4. OAC Access to Care Postcards continue to be available on the ASMBS and OAC websites for download; members will continue to urge patients to join the OAC
  5. Continue to monitor Bundled Payments
  6. Continued use of the Facebook page (149 members) and DocMatter as a method to disseminate information to members
  7. Continue monitoring and responding to regulatory changes affecting ACA patient protections
  8. Monthly reminders of the ObesityPAC State Chapter Advocacy Day Grants; support of members in obtaining these grants
  9. Monthly reminders to join the AMA
  10. Monthly reminders of COVID-19 Member Resources
  11. STARs and Super STARs
    a. Contribute regional reports during monthly meetings
    b. OCC All STAR Program established/managed by Chris Gallagher, our Washington Lobbyist
    c. Adding Integrated Health STARs

2021-2022 Completed Projects

  1. Promoted the OAC’s Obesity Care Week 2022 and participated in OCAN’s 2022 Virtual Obesity Care Week Hill Visit Advocacy Days, focusing again on supporting the passage of the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act
  2. Added more IH STARs to the committee
  3. The Committee Chair, in collaboration with the Executive Council, updated the 2020 COVID-19 Insurance Deductible Extension letter for 2021-2022
  4. Disseminated news of updated insurance policies to members and state chapters; implemented an “Advocacy & Access to Care” section in the ASMBS Top 5 on the 5th monthly newsletter
  5. ObesityPAC Grants were awarded to the Louisiana State Chapter in June of 2021 and to the Florida, Puerto Rico & Caribbean Chapter in December 2021; the committee continues to support advocacy efforts in all 50 states
  6. Created a commercial insurance coverage database with the assistance of our industry partners that went live on the OAC website in January 2022
Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now