, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 381-383
Date: 09 Oct 2012

The Society of Behavioral Medicine position statement on the CMS decision memo on intensive behavior therapy for obesity

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Abstract

In 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a decision to cover intensive behavior therapy for obesity in the primary care setting. The Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) Public Policy Leadership Group reviewed the CMS decision and has issued a position statement. SBM is in support of the CMS decision to cover intensive behavior therapy for obesity but expresses significant concern that aspects of the decision will severely limit the impact of the decision. Concerns focus on the degree to which this care can be feasibly implemented in its current form given the limitations in providers who are covered and the short length of counseling visits relative to evidence-based protocols. SBM is in strong support of modifications that would include providers who have expertise in weight control (e.g., psychologists and dietitians) and to expand the treatment time to better match protocols with confirmed efficacy.

Implications

Policy: Expanding the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) policy on behavioral therapy for obesity to providers other than primary care physicians is likely to expand reach.
Research: Research is needed to determine if the nature (intensity, setting, and provider) of behavioral therapy for obesity as covered in the CMS decision is efficacious.
Practice: The CMS decision to cover behavioral therapy for obesity allows primary care physicians the opportunity to bill for this service. Training should be offered as part of medical education.