July OCC Advocacy News

July 2018 Newsletter of the Obesity Care Continuum (OCC)
Prepared by Christopher Gallagher, OCC Washington Coordinator

AMA Adopts Policy to Break Down Barriers to Obesity Care

On June 12, 2018, the American Medical Association’s (AMA) House of Delegates (HOD) approved a resolution drafted by the Obesity Medicine Association (OMA), entitled “Removing Barriers to Obesity Treatment.” The OMA succeeded in their efforts because OMA delegates Dr. Ethan Lazarus and Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford lined up a number of supporting groups — including the Colorado delegation, Minority Affairs Section, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, Endocrine Society, American College of Surgeons, and American Gastroenterological Association — which helped the resolution pass without any opposition.

The new policy states that “AMA work with state and specialty societies to identify states in which physicians are restricted from providing the current standard of care with regards to obesity treatment…" and that "AMA will actively lobby with state medical societies and other interested stakeholders to remove out-of-date restrictions at the state and federal levels prohibiting healthcare providers from providing the current standard of care to patients affected by obesity.” Read the full press release about AMA's adoption of the new policy.

OMA to Host OCAN Advocacy Day on September 27, 2018

In conjunction with its Overcoming Obesity 2018 conference in Washington, DC, this fall, OMA will host the third Obesity Care Advocacy Network (OCAN) Advocacy Day on Thursday, September 27.

The September OCAN Advocacy Day will again have attendees meeting with Capitol Hill staff between 9:00 AM and 3:30 PM with a lunch briefing for congressional staff sandwiched in between. The day will be capped off with a PAC reception to honor a Senator or Representative who has championed efforts to better promote patient access to, and coverage of, obesity treatment services.

Prior to the September 27 Advocacy Day, registrants will receive a number of briefing materials and will participate in a special webinar highlighting the arguments surrounding the need for passage of the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act and better coverage of science-based obesity treatment services in general. We encourage all OCC organizations to support this advocacy event, so that we may have a broad representation of patients, researchers, and healthcare professionals on the Hill that day. Learn more about the advocacy day or register for the event.

Lieutenant Governors Adopt Policy Supporting Obesity Treatment

OCAN member groups were instrumental in securing passage of a critical policy resolution that supports treatment and prevention of obesity, which was approved by the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA) during its June 27-29, 2018, Annual Meeting. The resolution, which was introduced by Lieutenant Governors Fairfax (D-VA), Gregg (R-IA), Nungesser (R-LA), Wyman (D-CT), and Zuckerman (D-VT) will help:

  • Reduce obesity stigma
  • Establish statewide obesity councils and task forces
  • Support additional training for current and future healthcare professionals
  • Support access to obesity treatment options for state employees and in other publicly funded healthcare programs

Passage of the new NLGA policy on obesity builds on policy statements that have been issued by a number of groups throughout the past few years in the wake of the American Medical Association classifying obesity as a disease in 2013. View the entire NLGA obesity resolution.

Update on Treat and Reduce Obesity Act

Cosponsorship of the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA) continues to grow with now 157 cosponsors in the House and 9 in the Senate. Efforts also continue on reaching out to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to engage GAO staff regarding the agency’s pending study on obesity drugs — to better inform and steer GAO regarding best data sources and obesity experts, which should be accessed to ensure a fair and balanced study.