It is our goal to make the pre-surgical process as simple as possible but we are going to need your participation and commitment. We appreciate your patience during this period and hope you understand that your health and safety are our primary concerns. The best preparation for your surgery is to understand everything you can about the surgery and the process. Below are important steps in the pre-surgical process:
- Early on in this process, it is your responsibility to contact your insurance company to verify that weight loss surgery is a covered procedure and what your particular plans requirements are. The surgeon’s office staff will work diligently with you in this regard, once a patient/physician relationship has begun. If you find your insurance plan excludes weight loss surgery, financing options may be available.
- Most insurance companies usually require several months of medically supervised weight loss attempts. This usually involves an initial visit with your Primary Care Physician (PCP) where he/she prescribes a weight loss regimen, and then there are subsequent monthly follow-ups. These attempts do not have to include medication. They can include dietary education and behavior modification such as exercise. If you do not have this documentation, we strongly suggest you call your doctor as soon as possible to start this process. If you need a PCP familiar with weight loss surgery, please feel free to contact us.
- Once you are ready to move forward with your weight loss journey, please complete the bariatric patient registration form and fax it back to Susan Kay at (727) 341-7058. This will trigger an appointment with a team member.
- It is imperative that you contact all doctors that have treated you in the past two years (some insurance plans may require five years). Request medical records that describe illnesses you have been treated for such as high blood pressure, diabetes and sleep apnea. If insurance is going to cover this surgery, we need to prove medical necessity.
- A letter from your PCP (primary care provider) or specialist who supports your need for weight loss surgery is very helpful. This letter should list the various co-morbid conditions for which he/she is treating you. The letter should also state that significant weight loss might halt the progression of these conditions, as well as make them easier to manage.
- A comprehensive psychological evaluation is imperative. This will include a detailed clinical interview, in addition to objectively scored psychological tests. These professionals assess for mental health problems such as eating disorders/behaviors, specifically binge-eating disorder, uncontrolled major depression, and certain personality disorders. They also assess realistic expectations and determine the insight into the lifelong behavioral changes that will be required after surgery.
- A nutritional assessment is part of the pre-operative plan of care. This will cover food intake, emotional eating, and identifying triggers that might be of benefit after surgery. In addition, education will begin as it relates to the diet you will be required to follow.