Obesity is a significant cause of morbidity not only throughout the United States but within the Armed Forces. The pool of potential recruits is affected by it as well as those currently serving and the veterans following their service. Bariatric surgery is known to be a safe, effective treatment for obesity and its comorbidities. Currently, based on DOD Health Policy 07-006, recruits may not have had bariatric surgery prior to joining the Armed Forces and members are not authorized to have bariatric surgery while a member of the Armed Forces.

Obesity is also a significant cause of morbidity and mortality within the Veteran population in the United States. Improved access to bariatric surgery within the VA system has permitted Veterans to experience the health benefits of WLS with excellent outcomes.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this session, attendees will be able to:

  1. Discuss the current state of bariatric surgery within the Department of Defense health system and Veterans Health Administration.
  2. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of changing the current DOD health policy governing the use of bariatric surgery on recruits and current service members.
  3. Discuss the current outcomes data and longevity data for bariatric surgery in the VA based on the Veterans Affairs Surgical Quality Improvement Program (VASQIP) database.

8:00am Welcome
Joel Brockmeyer, MD FASMBS
8:05am Current use of bariatric surgery in the DOD Differences between the services MTFs (big hospitals) vs MEDDACs (small hospitals)
Byron Faler, MD
8:15am Debate About Bariartic Surgery for Active Duty
8:15am Pro Side - Yes to Bariatric Surgery for Active Duty and Recruitment of Former Patients
Tamara Worlton, MD FASMBS
8:25am Con Side - No to Either?
Susan Clark, MD
8:35am Panel Discussion
Gordon G Wisbach, MD MBA; Byron Faler, MD; Tamara Worlton, MD FASMBS; Susan Clark, MD
9:00am Current State of VA Bariatrics
Dan Eisenberg, MD MS
9:10am Outcomes in VA Bariatrics/Longevity Data from VSQIP
Ann Smith, MD
9:20am Possible Talk on Standardization in VA Bariatrics
Leah Loomis, DNP ACNP-BC CBN
9:30am Adjourn