Bariatric surgeon Justin Dimick featured in New York Times blog

A JAMA study written by U-M bariatric surgeon Justin Dimick was featured in the New York Times’ health blog, Well, on Thursday.

The story highlights Dimick’s study which calls into question the effectiveness of a 2006 Medicare mandate that restricted coverage for weight-loss surgery to designated Centers of Excellence.

New York Times writer Pauline W. Chen, M.D., describes the study’s ramifications:

"Focusing on outcomes in obesity surgery, the study illustrates the breathtaking speed at which clinical medicine can progress, and how rapidly policies, along with their critics and champions, can become obsolete.

Health care policy is a moving target; and the most effective measures endure as ‘best practices’ only until new research points the way to even better approaches."

Dimick and his coauthors found that while patients who had bariatric surgery after the Medicare mandate did have better outcomes, it wasn’t because of the mandate. In fact, they argued, Medicare’s restriction of coverage might actually be limiting patients’ access to get the treatment they need.

“Policymaking has to be a dynamic process that reconsiders the evidence as it comes out,” Dimick told the Times. “If you’re going to keep designating centers of excellence, you need to be sure they are actually excellent and actually offering better care than other institutions.”

To read the entire blog, please visit the New York Times.

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