Cloud Appreciation

A Pledge for Better Health and Obesity Care

Nina CrowleyTo improve the quality, access, and utilization of preventive and treatment services for obesity among both children and adults, a group of innovative payers have agreed to take action on a national scale. The My Healthy Weight pledge is a first. It’s the first and only collective initiative offering insurance benefits covering obesity prevention and treatment for both children and adults.

My Healthy Weight Pledge

This pledge takes force on January 1, 2019. My Healthy Weight members are pledging to build on their organization’s efforts to fight obesity. They will implement an intensive behavioral intervention for every plan year for members with the following minimum criteria:

♦ 12 visits for adults with a BMI ≥ 30
♦ 6 contact hours for adults with a BMI ≥ 25 and one or more risk factors
♦ 12 visits for children ages 3 years or older with a BMI ≥ 95th percentile
♦ 8 visits for children ages 3 years or older with a BMI 85th – 95th percentile

Entities pledge to implement/cover one or more community based programs for weight management. They will include obesity measures in existing or future outcomes-based payment models. And finally, they will create a plan to engage members and providers on the existence of the covered benefits.

The 11 founding members of My Healthy Weight  have also committed to support the utilization of these newly covered benefits. And where they can, they will move their organizations toward value-based payments for obesity.

Provider Competencies

Another way to empower advocacy among our health professionals is to ensure that they receive obesity-related education. A recent collaboration with 20 leading health organizations took a step in that direction. It produced the first-ever set of interdisciplinary competencies for obesity prevention and treatment. The Bipartisan Policy Center published them last year. They provide a starting point for standardization in the training and education of our current and future healthcare providers.

Provider Competencies for the Prevention and Management of Obesity includes 10 core competencies and 23 sub-competencies. They address core obesity knowledge, interprofessional obesity care, and patient interactions related to obesity. Notably, they speak to the many different health professionals engaged in obesity prevention and management.

Focusing on Policy and Advocacy at FNCE

At this year’s Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo (#FNCE) in Washington, DC, I was thrilled to see so many policy-themed events. Even better, I see a strong focus on engaging in advocacy. I have the honor of presenting on the My Healthy Weight Pledge. When I do, I’ll be presenting alongside Jenny Bogard, founder of Commonality. You can find the handouts for our session here and here.

Prevention and treatment of obesity takes all our best efforts. In addition to the pledge, important progress is happening with individual providers, and with public and private payers. So equip yourself with the tools for competent care. Also, encourage others to sign on to the My Healthy Weight Pledge.

Today’s guest post comes from our friend Nina Crowley. She is the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Program Coordinator and a bariatric dietitian at the Medical University of South Carolina

Cloud Appreciation, photograph © Paucal / flickr

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October 21, 2018