Published on September 26, 2013 at 10:21 AM
Groups Say Decision May Lead to Higher Risk of Mortality for Medicare Bariatric Surgical Patients
Despite strong opposition from leading surgical and medical groups, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has ruled it will no longer require Medicare patients to undergo bariatric surgical procedures at accredited facilities. CMS ruled today that eligible Medicare patients may have bariatric operations performed at any center they choose, even those facilities with little experience in handling high-risk patients.
"We are disappointed and in strong disagreement with a ruling that appears to disregard overwhelming scientific evidence and medical opinion that bariatric accreditation programs save lives, improve patient outcomes, and enhance the quality of care," said Jaime Ponce, MD, President of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), the largest organization of surgeons who perform weight loss and metabolic operations.
"The standards required for accreditation provide important lifesaving safeguards for patients, particularly for Medicare beneficiaries, who have a higher risk of morbidity and mortality than the general bariatric surgery population," said David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS, American College of Surgeons (ACS) Executive Director. "We encourage Medicare patients to continue to select an accredited center for bariatric surgery. "