Bariatric Times

NOV 2017

A peer-reviewed, evidence-based journal that promotes clinical development and metabolic insights in total bariatric patient care for the healthcare professional

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22 Ask the Leadership Bariatric Times • November 2017 ASMBS Obesity Political Action Committee: Where We Are and Where We are Going What is the Obesity Political Action Committee (PAC)? Are you getting the participation you need? Dr. Morton: The PAC is the first political action committee devoted to obesity. It is just for American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgeons (ASMBS) members and their spouses. We set an initial goal to get at least five-percent participation from the ASMBS membership, and we've surpassed that with eight-percent participation. We also aimed for 100- percent participation from our executive council, which we've also achieved. We would like to improve participation from our state chapter presidents and committee chairs, from whom we currently have about 65-percent participation. We'd like to see 100-percent participation from these groups because we want all of our leadership to be deeply involved in our endeavors. We have also surpassed our goal of raising $100,000, which has allowed us to make financial donations to 12 political candidates from all over the country who are supportive of our cause. Do you have specific plans for the PAC during Obesity Week? Dr. Morton: Yes. We will be hosting a PAC reception during Obesity Week that we plan to do annually moving forward. This high-level event will be in honor of our donors, and ASMBS members can expect a fun, social atmosphere with great food and drink in a great location. This year, the Obesity PAC 2017 reception will feature Senator Mark Warner, and will be held November 1, 2017, 6:30pm to 8:30pm, at the Gaylord Resort, National Harbor in Potomac Room 6. This reception will serve as a fundraiser and provide an opportunity for us to learn more about our state representatives and members of the Senate and become better informed regarding healthcare initiatives in Washington. It's also an opportunity for the politicians to learn more about the ASMBS and our goals as an organization. We hope that by sponsoring these events annually for the next 5 to 10 years in each host city of Obesity Week, we will gain the support of a very geographically diverse group of like-minded politicians from around the country that can help further our mission of fighting the disease of obesity. Last year, we hosted a fundraiser for Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy, who also happens to be a gastroenterologist. It was a very successful event, and Dr. Cassidy has become a very prominent figure in healthcare reform who provides us with a voice in Washington. In addition to our reception, we'll sponsor several advocacy events during Obesity Week that include visits to Capitol Hill. We are proud to sponsor a special speech during Obesity Week by Maine Governor Paul LePage, who received bariatric surgery from PAC Member Dr. Jamie Loggins. Additionally, we will be presenting our annual Advocacy Award during this year's ASMBS LEAD Awards luncheon. Last year, we presented this award to Dr. Christopher Joyce, Medical Director of Bariatric & Minimally Invasive Surgery at Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Joyce was instrumental in eliminating the pre-op weight loss requirement of Illinois Blue Cross. This year, we will be presenting Advocacy Awards to Dr. Joseph Chelbi from Venice Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery in Venice, Florida, and Dr. Michael "Mickey" Segar from the Bariatric Medical Institute of Texas in San Antonio. Drs. Chelbi and Segar are being recognized for their efforts in changing state mandates to include bariatric surgery in diabetes and obesity treatment plans. In 2015, you pointed out that high deductibles, coverage denial, and discriminatory benefit design were common barriers to obtaining proper healthcare in 27 states. In 2017, do these obstacles still exist? Dr. Morton: Unfortunately, these obstacles do still exist in many areas of the United States. We have made some progress—eliminating Blue Cross's pre-op weight loss T h i s M o n t h ' s I n t e r v i e w w i t h A s k t h e LEADERSHIP with RAUL J. ROSENTHAL, MD, FACS, FASMBS This column is dedicated to sharing the vast knowledge and opinions of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery leadership—past and present—on relevant topics in the field of bariatric surgery. JOHN M. MORTON, MD, MPH, FACS, FASMBS John M. Morton, MD, MPH, FACS, FASMBS, is Chief of the Section of Bariatric and Minimally Invasive Surgery, Stanford University, Stanford, California, and Past President, American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Bariatric Times. 2017;14(11):22–23. We hope that by sponsoring these events annually for the next 5 to 10 years in each host city of Obesity Week, we will gain the support of a very geographically diverse group of like-minded politicians from around the country that can help further our mission of fighting the disease of obesity.

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