In the Journals

AGA issues practice guide for obesity care

The AGA has announced the release of its Obesity Practice Guide, which includes a comprehensive guide to help gastroenterologists manage their patients with obesity, and a framework for operational and business issues.

This work was prompted by the need for a multidisciplinary approach to managing patients with obesity, and the AGA’s belief that gastroenterologists are uniquely positioned for a central role in these care teams, according to a press release.

“The epidemic of obesity continues at alarming rates with a high burden to our economy and society,” Sarah Streett, MD, chair of the AGA Institute Practice Management and Economics Committee, and clinical associate professor and director of IBD Stanford University School of Medicine, said in the press release. “The American Gastroenterological Association understands the importance of embracing obesity as a chronic, relapsing disease and supports a multidisciplinary approach to the management of obesity.”

Sarah Streett, MD

Sarah Streett

The Practice Guide on Obesity and Weight Management, Education and Resources, or POWER program, is designed to provide physicians with “a guide for the successful implementation of comprehensive care of patients with obesity in an endoscopic bariatric practice by using a multidisciplinary approach,” Streett and colleagues wrote.

The guide aims to map all aspects of obesity care, from medication, nutrition and lifestyle therapy, to endoscopic bariatric therapies and bariatric surgery.

It was developed in collaboration with The Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES), The Obesity Society (TOS), and the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN), and was endorsed by the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), Obesity Medicine Association (OMA) and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).

“We created the practice guide on obesity and weight management to help gastroenterologists develop a multidisciplinary team and obesity care model for their practice, including patient goal setting, readiness assessment, evaluation, and treatment with diet, medication, and bariatric endoscopy and surgery,” Andres Acosta, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine, Clinical Enteric Neuroscience Translational and Epidemiological Research (C.E.N.T.E.R.), division of gastroenterology and hepatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., said in the press release. “It is our hope that by working in a team-based approach, gastroenterologists can guide and personalize obesity care for safe and effective weight management for our patients.”

Further, the AGA also released an episode-of-care framework for obesity management to support value-based care among gastroenterology practices providing nonsurgical and endoscopic services.

“The framework will help gastroenterology practices assess their ability to participate in and implement an episode of care for obesity, and understand the essentials of coding and billing for these services,” according to the press release. “The goal of episode framework is to provide gastroenterologists with strategies to obtain compensation for high value care, in a flexible format that can be adapted to the resources of both large and small practices. It is essential that data coordination take place between all members of the multi-disciplinary team who are providing therapeutic services to the patient to ensure high value continuity of care.”

The development of this framework was a collaborative effort with the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), the American Psychological Association (APA), the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), according to the press release. – by Adam Leitenberger

Disclosures: Acosta reports he is a stockholder of Gila Therapeutics and serves on the scientific advisory board or board of directors of Gila Therapeutics, Inversago, and General Mills. Streett reports no relevant financial disclosures.