Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Medicare May Pay for the Bariatric Surgical Treatment of Diabetes

In 2006, Medicare endorsed bariatric surgery for treating obesity, indicating that Medicare would pay for the surgery if certain standards were met. Medicare endorsed the standards of at least two organizations. One of these organizations was the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. And the other organization was the American College of Surgeons.

Now, Medicare is considering broadening its payment for bariatric surgery to include bariatric surgery for the treatment of diabetes. Recently, there has been a lot of talk in the media concerning the possibility that bariatric surgery may actually cure type 2 diabetes. And Medicare is looking into the surgery as a treatment.

Indeed, the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric surgery, mentioned above, changed its name from the American Society for Bariatric Surgery to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery to include bariatric surgery as a possible treatment for other ailments such as diabetes.

So bariatric surgery, as a treatment for diabetes, may be an important service for a bariatric or weight loss center to offer in the future. We've made this point before on this blog.

However, with the possible, future Medicare endorsement, how to establish strategic marketing plans that highlight bariatric surgery as a treatment for type 2 diabetes deserves some consideration. At a minimum, a bariatric center should start performing scenario analysis to determine how the center might position itself to take advantage of a Medicare endorsement.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sleeve Gastrectomy as a Primary Bariatric Procedure

Sleeve gastrectomy is a form of bariatric surgery where a small "banana like" stomach pouch is created to restrict food intake. The surgery is commonly one stage of a two stage bariatric surgical procedure. The second stage, for example, might be gastric bypass surgery.

Now, a retrospective study, done by a group with The Bariatric Institute of Cleveland Clinic, Florida, has concluded that laparoscopic sleeve gastretomy is a safe single-stage primary procedure. In fact, the surgery is being offered as a single stage procedure at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

So, laparoscopic sleeve gastretomy may be an important surgical offering for those bariatric centers offering other forms of bariatric surgery. Offering this service could give a weight loss or bariatric center a competitive advantage.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Cherries in the Diet

Diet and exercise have always been an important key to maintaining good health. For some time, studies have shown that red wine can be an aid in reducing heart attacks. And now a study, done by the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center and reported on in Science Daily, is showing that tart cherries may help reduce the occurrence of heart attack and diabetes.

The study was done using rats where a portion of the rats were obese and a portion of the rats were lean. Rats from either group who were fed tart cherry powder displayed lower levels of factors associated with heart disease, diabetes, cholesterol and triglycerides.

The group performing the study indicated that in order for a person to consume the same amount of cherries as each of the rats, that person would need to eat 1.5 cups of cherries per day. More work is being done to determine if tart cherries have the same effect in humans as in the rats.

Weight lost centers should follow this study, because diet is an important element in weight loss, and a well-thought-out diet can lead to better health. And since cherries are already viewed as providing health benefits, even without positive final study results concerning tart cherries, cherries would be a healthy addition to a weight loss or weight maintenance regimen.
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