June Capitol Update

June Capitol Update


  • OCC Monthly Advocacy Days Continue

  • OCC Comments on USPSTF CVD Recommendations


OCC Monthly Advocacy Days Continue

On June 2nd, OCC leaders flocked to Capitol Hill for their monthly advocacy day – specifically targeting the state of Illinois. Among them was Dr. Lisa Neff who met with a number of key legislative offices with the Illinois congressional delegation. Dr. Neff urged delegation members to support a congressional sign on letter to HHS Secretary Burwell – instructing the Department to issue to state health exchange plans guidance that mirrors what the Office of Personnel Management recently issued to the Federal Employees Health Benefit (FEHB) Program. In a March 20, 2014 letter to FEHB Program Carriers, OPM stated that carriers may no longer exclude coverage for obesity treatments on the basis that obesity is a "lifestyle" condition or that obesity treatment is "cosmetic."


OCC Comments on USPSTF CVD Recommendations

On June 9, 2014, the Obesity Care Continuum (OCC) submitted comments in response to draft recommendations issued by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) stating that adults affected by excess weight and obesity with at least one other cardiovascular risk factor should receive intensive behavioral counseling to promote healthy diet and physical activity for heart disease prevention.

The OCC focused its comments on the key factors that promote effective interventions such as: the intensity of the intervention; the provider type or expertise; and the venue or location. In addition, OCC highlighted the importance of the recently released Guideline for the Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults developed by the American College of Cardiology (ACC), American Heart Association (AHA), and The Obesity Society (TOS).

Among other things, the OCC recommended that the Task Force: explicitly recommend appropriate referrals from primary care providers to a registered dietitian nutritionist or other specialist, such as an obesity medicine specialist, for effective dietary interventions; draft its recommendations with due consideration to its new statutory role and the manner in which the language of its recommendations has been and may be interpreted by regulatory authorities; and utilize "people first" language when referring to those affected by overweight or obesity.

In closing, the OCC urged USPSTF to amend its recommendation to:

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends offering or referring adults with obesity, or those with overweight who have additional cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors to intensive behavioral counseling interventions or Medical Nutrition Therapy delivered by specialists such as a registered dietitian nutritionist, obesity medicine specialist, or other nutrition professional to promote a healthy diet and physical activity for CVD prevention.