AACE Commends CMS Announcement on Coverage for Obesity Prevention Services under Medicare

AACE commends the recent announcement by Donald M. Berwick, MD, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), adding coverage for preventive services to reduce obesity. AACE is encouraged that CMS recognizes the growing problem of obesity in our country and this initiative emphasizes anti-obesity approaches directed at lifestyle as a critical part of preventive medicine and comprehensive care. CMS’ obesity prevention coverage policy is aligned with the action taken by AACE’s Board of Directors at its meeting in July 2011 declaring obesity as a disease state. AACE has long felt that, while obesity was formally viewed largely as a consequence of consistently poor lifestyle choices, sufficient evidence has been accumulated to implicate a number of heterogeneous hormonal and regulatory disorders in the pathogenesis and progression of the obese state leading to diabetes and other co-morbid conditions such as cardiovascular disease. Recognizing the endocrine hormonal results of obesity, diabetes and the dire consequences, AACE has officially declared obesity as a disease state and plans to develop multiple preventive educational resources, including lifestyle changes, nutrition and exercise, as well as physician-directed early intervention and treatment modalities for obesity management. AACE supports the role of the primary care physician in this new initiative as defined by CMS; however, feels that, as experts in the treatment of metabolic disease, endocrinologists are critical to our nation’s concerted efforts to prevent and treat obesity. AACE hopes that, in keeping with its acknowledgement of the deleterious implications of obesity, including its progression to type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other metabolic disease, CMS will expand coverage for obesity preventive services to include endocrinologists.

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