Bariatric Times

FEB 2018

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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21 Bariatric Center Spotlight Bariatric Times • February 2018 practice and our patients. She is compassionate, supportive, and has a s trong background in nutrition and primary care. Our Bariatric Patient Navigation Team supports patients throughout the workup process up to the s cheduling of surgery. This team is led by Julie Sjoblom and includes Sherah Rodriguez, Dawn Robinson, Anita Gilchrist, and our surgical scheduler, Vee Lusniak. The role of t his team is to assist patients throughout the work-up process and help them understand the requirements of their specific insurance. We work with patients and p roviders to ensure medical clearance and testing is completed in a timely manner. This team is seasoned, has considerable experience and knowledge of the r equirements for insurance providers in the state, and is available to assist our patients at all levels. This group also will work with patients on any insurance issues and will assist with a ny appeals if required. Our practice partners with several dietitians and clinical psychologists in the area who have vast experience with morbid obesity and bariatric surgery. We meet with these clinicians on an annual basis and are available to discuss individual cases as well. We work hard to collaborate and ensure that we are up to date with the latest guidelines and recommendations. These providers are essential to the success of our patients by educating and preparing patients for bariatric surgery. We value their input and care and encourage all of our patients to see their dietician and mental health provider preoperatively and postoperatively. We offer nutritional counseling and support at each hospital we partner with, including Danbury Hospital. Many patients see Tamara Swett at Norwalk Hospital, Karen Novack provides nutrition guidance at St. Vincent's Medical Center, and Larissa Zepko-March and Kate Kelley offer services at at Griffin Hospital. In addition to these providers, we work with private practitioners, including Lynn Holmberg in Norwalk, Nancy Murphy in Fairfield, Kathy Kraus in Stamford, Lynda Mezansky in Stamford, and Jane Conway in Fairfield, among others. For mental health services, some of the hospitals allow for outpatients to access their providers, where others direct patients to providers in the outpatient setting. In the Norwalk area, Lisa Mandelman cares for many of our patients. In the Stamford area, Janet Bertoldi provides care and treatment. In the Fairfield area, we have Dana Zuskin and Jane Conway. At Griffin Hospital, Kelly Miller is available for consultation. In the New Haven area, Dr. Mark Gaynor and Dr. Angelica Kaner consult our patients. A UNIQUE FACILITY Each bariatric program with which o ur practice is affiliated is fully accredited and has a bariatric coordinator who monitors the program and ensures compliance with all MBSAQIP standards and r equirements. Barbara Vala is the bariatric coordinator at Norwalk Hospital, Mary Lou Viola is the bariatric coordinator at Danbury Hospital, Victoria DiNardo is the b ariatric coordinator at St. Vincent's Medical Center, and Kimberly Fisher is the bariatric coordinator at Griffin Hospital. We have two primary offices at w hich we see most of our patients. Our flagship location is in Norwalk, Connecticut, and our secondary office is in Shelton, Connecticut. Each office is equipped with bariatric c hairs and tables, including multiple scales that go up to 1,000 pounds. Each facility does annual sensitivity training, and our staff is fully capable of managing patients with various d egrees of severity of morbid obesity. PATIENT DEMOGRAPHICS We perform LRYGB, LSG, and LAGB. We also offer revisional and conversion procedures for patients who have not met their goals with a primary bariatric surgery. As a practice, we perform over 400 bariatric procedures on an annual basis. We take care of patients with all insurances across the region and offer affordable private-pay pricing packages for patients who do not have insurance coverage for bariatric services. AN ACCREDITED CENTER We have been designated as a Center of Excellence/Accredited program since 2002. We pride ourselves on our ability to meet and comply with the requirements set forth by the ASMBS/ACS/MBSAQIP. We have met and maintained the high standards required to keep these designations in good standing. We are proud to provide our patients great surgical care at multiple accredited centers across the state. Our patients know the significance of this designation at these facilities and the benefits of having their surgery at an accredited center. PATIENT ADHERENCE The electronic medical record (EMR) system we have in place at our practice is NextGen (NextGen Healthcare, Horsham, Pennsylvania). This, in combination with unique internal tracking systems, allows us to monitor patient progress throughout the work-up process, as well as track adherence to postoperative follow-up care. We have also recently added a Patient Portal for patients to increase access to appointment scheduling and communication with the practice. We work hard to make sure patients follow the postoperative appointment schedule to stay on track and be successful. If a patient has not been seen in a while, we will continually reach out to him or her via telephone and mail to encourage adherence and proper care. The biggest obstacle to caring for patients with morbid obesity in Connecticut is the issue of insurance coverage. Since we started performing bariatric surgery, we have kept track of patients who attend our seminars. Many attendees would qualify for the procedures but have an exclusion on their health insurance policy. Connecticut does not offer coverage for bariatric services on the health exchange plans. Unfortunately, these two factors greatly limit who is able to have surgery. In our state, only about 30 to 40 percent of patients with insurance have coverage for bariatric surgery. We advocate and fight for The doctors with James Thornton and Corey Luchiey at the FCB Health Fair Several patients pose for a picture with doctors and the health fair's "Biggest Loser" participants. Dr. Neil Floch stands with some of our staff at our annual health fair.

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