Weight Loss

Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Drs Blaney and Glass  are the only two Center of Excellence (COE) designated Surgeons in the CSRA, and Trinity Hospital of Augusta is the only Hospital that is also COE designated (surgeon and hospital designated separately).

The COE designation from the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery signifies that the designated surgeon and hospital has qualified expertise in the management and treatment of the surgical weight loss patient.  Additionally the designation requires that the surgeon and hospital perform a minimum number of procedures each year to maintain the necessary skills to perform the operations safely.

We perform surgery at all of the local hospitals that have weight loss surgery programs (University and Doctor’s Hospital) and will be happy to work with you and your insurance to make the experience at all of the Augusta area hospitals is a positive one.

It’s your health.  Ask about your surgeons experience.

We Perform ALL types of Weightloss Procedures

At Trinity Bariatric and Weightloss Center we feel that it is important to offer our patients the option of all available weight loss procedure since one procedure is not always right for every patient .  We perform the following operations:

  • Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass (LRNY GB)
  • Laparoscopic Gastric Banding (Lap Band and Realize Band)
  • Laparoscopic Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG)
  • Laparoscopic Biliopancreatic Diversion with doudenal Switch (BPD-DS)
  • Laparoscopic Revision of prior weight loss procedures
  • Endoscopic revison of prior weight loss procedures (ROSE procedure)

Bariatric Information Seminar

If you are interested in finding out about weight loss surgery  you may attend an informational seminar. Our seminars are free. Meetings are the first and third Thursday of each month at 5:30 PM. Seminars are held at Trinity Hospital of Augusta (formerly St. Joseph Hospital) on the ground floor in the Sister Mary Louise Conference Room. For more information call Trinity Bariatrics at 706-481-7298 or email info@augustasurgery.com

First seminar of month is held by Dr. Michael Blaney. Hear what other patients have to say:  http://www.obesityhelp.com/morbidobesity/bariatric+surgeon+reviews+Michael+Blaney+ggh.html

Second seminar of month is held by Dr. Darren Glass.

Support Group

This meeting is held for pre-surgery or post-surgery patients wanting to get support through the process and to hear personal experiences from other patients. We encourage all patients to attend the support group meeting prior to surgery. We believe that the only way to make an informed decision is by fully understanding all the details of surgery to include its risks and benefits. Meetings are the first and third Thursdays of each month at 7 PM. They are held at Trinity Hospital of Augusta (formerly St. Joseph Hospital) on the ground floor in the Sister Mary Louise Conference Room. Everyone is welcome to come including family members. For more information call Trinity Bariatrics 706-481-7298 or Email our support group leader,  Carla Harrison cdharr@hotmail.com

We invite you to join our on-line support group on Yahoo. This is a way for our group to communicate and provide support during the month.
The group can be accessed here: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/augustawls/

Preoperative Education Program

Our educational program consists of several pre-surgery sessions with our surgeons, as well as counseling with our psychologist, and nutritionist. If you wish to proceed with an evaluation for weight loss surgery this process begins with an initial office consultation with your surgeon. At that point you will undergo a medical evaluation as well as being enrolled into the program for preoperative education and medical preparation. This process follows a predetermined pathway that includes:

  • Education and counseling with the surgeon
  • Psychologic evaluation
  • Nutrition evaluation
  • Specialty consults and tests when necessary (e.g.: lung/heart tests, sleep study, etc)
  • Preoperative support group attendance

Insurance Information

Deciding to have weight loss surgery is a very big decision. The process generally begins by checking with your insurance carrier about coverage of benefits.  It is a requirement that we check all benefits before scheduling your initial appointment. Some insurance plans unfortunately do not have benefits for weight loss surgery. We have found it helpful to call the insurance company’s customer service number and ask if gastric bypass (CPT: 43644), vertical sleeve gastrectomy (CPT: 43775), or adjustable gastric banding (CPT: 43770) is a covered procedure for the diagnosis of Morbid Obesity (Diagnosis Code: 278.01). Be sure to ask your insurance carrier specifically if surgical treatment for Morbid Obesity is an excluded benefit.  If you contact our office we will be happy in assisting you in understanding your insurance benefits and will call on your behalf to make sure you get accurate information.     You will either be told that it is covered if “medically necessary,” or that it is not a covered procedure. If it is covered when “medically necessary” we will assist you in obtaining prior authorization. If it is not a covered procedure, then choices are often limited except for a cash pay option (see below).  Some insurance companies have additional requirements that very from one company to the next.  This may include attending preoperative support group meetings or undergoing a 3 or 6 month medically supervised diets.  If these are required then proper documentation will be necessary.  Please call us and we can assist you in ensuring that your attendance is properly docmented to meet the insurance requirements.    Obtaining authorization from your insurance company for obesity weight loss surgery can be a challenging and frustrating process. We will assist you in this endeavor, but your cooperation in providing the following documentation will improve your chances of obtaining approval.

  1. We need as much documentation as you can provide regarding your attempts at dieting and, in particular. any medically supervised diet plans.
  2. Documentation of any associated medical problems such as hypertension, diabetes, sleep apnea, or orthopedic problems. Letters from specialists or personal physicians in support of the surgery are particularly beneficial.

Obtaining approval can take several weeks to complete. Many companies deny an initial request for no apparent reason, despite our policy of utilizing national criteria in patient selection. In the event you receive a denial, you need to go through the proper channels and appeal. We will assist in this matter, but the appeal must come from the policyholder. Our experience shows that many companies will back down and approve coverage when faced with a determined patient.
If you have Aetna, Cigna and some United HealthCare and BCBS AL, BCBS IL, BCBS NJ, and HighMark BCBS as your insurance provider, it is a requirement that you must have undergone a medically supervised diet for a 6 month period within the last 24 months before any documents will be considered for approval. You can contact our office for the information to provide your primary care doctor to start this process.

The documentation must include:

  1. Vital Signs, including weight
  2. Current dietary program
  3. Physical activity (i.e.: exercise program)
  4. Behavioral interventions to reinforce healthy eating & exercise habits
  5. Consideration of pharmacotherapy with U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved weight-loss drugs, if appropriate.

Cash Option

Our practice is pleased to let you know that in conjunction with Trinity Hospital of Augusta we have been able to establish a cash pay option for those patients that do not have insurance coverage. This option is one comprehensive fee that includes:

  • all hospital fees to include preoperative labs, x-rays and hospital stay
  • surgeons fees
  • anesthesia fees
  • BLIS Care Insurance (post-op warranty against certain complications). www.bliscompany.com/
  • First year post operative care/band fills

Not all self pay plans by other programs are the same.  Make sure that you understand what is covered.  Although we don’t expect to have complications, when it does happen the expense can be costly.  This is why all of our patients are covered by Bliss Insurance.

Any questions not answered here please e-mail info@augustasurgery.com or call Trinity Bariatric and Weight Loss Center 706-481-7298

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