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.


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