Mandatory accreditation of bariatric surgery facilities hangs in the balance of a pending decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which has proposed eliminating the requirement.
Expected in September or October, a decision to eliminate the accreditation requirement would extend Medicare coverage of bariatric surgery facilities to currently non-accredited centers. CMS submitted the proposal for public comment after a group in Michigan presented data showing no difference in outcomes between certified and noncertified facilities.
Both the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and the American College of Surgeons (ACS) oppose the move, citing data showing higher perioperative mortality for bariatric procedures performed at non-accredited facilities.
Ending the accreditation requirement "could be potentially dangerous, particularly in terms of the latest documentation we have from the National Inpatient Sample database, which clearly shows there is an increased mortality at non-accredited centers," said ASMBS president Jaime Ponce, MD, of Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton, Ga.