WLS Center E-Newsletter

A FREE publication from


Hosted by Barbara Thompson
Author of:
Weight Loss Surgery:
Finding the Thin Person Hiding Inside You.

Issue #48

June 1, 2004

When I was speaking in Wichita Falls, TX at the beginning of May, I had the great pleasure of meeting Dr. Kenneth Warnock. He made a comment to me that I have thought of often ever since.  He told me that he makes sure that his patients know that no matter how well or poorly they do after surgery, he still loves them. That touched me. We need more Dr. Warnockís because a lot of us have a rough time with this surgery over the long term, and we need to know that someone still loves us.  For those of you going through rough times at the moment, I hope the article on dealing with those times will help you.

In This Issue


* Program Fees
* Telephone Seminar on Exercise Ė Register Now
* American Society for Bariatric Surgery
* Research Article: Getting Help
* Follow Up on Water
* Recipe: Peanut Butter Cookies
* How Do You Maintain Your Weight Loss
* Spreading the Word in Michigan, Wisconsin, New York and Las Vegas

Program Fees

I received the following question from Christina Lee from San Antonio, TX who has agreed to have this in the e-newsletter.

I love your website!! I recently called a bariatric surgeon's office to inquire and set up an appointment for the surgery. My insurance paid 100% but this office told me there would be one thousand dollars in "program fees" that would not be covered, five hundred at the time of the decision for surgery and right before it. If the surgery is supposed to be fully covered, how can they charge these extra fees?

Hi Christina,
We all think of our surgeons as those who have saved our lives.  And for the most part that is true. However, aside from bariatric surgery being a profession, a passion and a calling, it is also a business.  While your insurance company may be paying 100%, many insurance companies are paying 100% of a very low fee because the insurance company negotiates the fee they will pay with the hospital. There are some surgeons who are receiving $1700 to perform the surgery. With that $1700 the surgeon must cover malpractice insurance, a staff, office rent, all of your office visits, their time reviewing your case, meeting with patients who get scared off and never have the surgery, study to keep up with their profession, taking emergency calls from post op patients, perhaps pay off medical school bills, and a host of other activities that we might not consider.  After all of this, they must still make a living.

There is continuing pressure for every surgeon who performs bariatric surgery to have a complete aftercare program, especially in light of the new Centers of Excellence concept. Many insurance companies will allow patients to have their surgery performed only by surgeons who have such a program and good outcomes. But insurance companies do not reflect these requirements in the reimbursement that they pay. The insurance companies are paying only for the surgery, not for the aftercare that is essential for a successful weight loss.  No one does this for free, so in your case, you have to pay athe portion of what the insurance company does not. 

If you have ever had your gall bladder out, you go to the hospital, have your gall bladder out, have maybe one follow up appointment and you are done. Weight loss surgery is obviously not the same. There are so many questions to be answered. No one feels a need to buy a book like mine on gall bladder surgery or to go to support group meetings with other gall bladder patients. We have so many questions to be answered. This whole process costs someone.

In general, this problem is not the fault of your surgeon, but a problem with your insurance company that may not be providing adequate reimbursement.  I don't recommend necessarily shopping around for a surgeon that doesn't charge for a program.  That other surgeon who doesnít charge just might not have a program at all. And one of the ways of being very successful with this surgery is to participate in all that the
program has to offer.

The paying of program fees is not very common, but it does happen. I would very much like to hear from other patients and their opinions of program fees and how widespread this is.

Upcoming Telephone Seminar



You Canít Reach Goal without It

What: Barbara Thompson Interviews Exercise Guru, Jon Gestl

When: Wednesday June 23rd, 2004, 8:00 PM Eastern Time

I receive so many emails from people who are concerned because they are gaining weight.  It is very scary after going through so much to get thin.  So in planning my next telephone seminar, I wanted to address this vital topic by approaching it through exercise.  Exercise is such an important key to getting to and maintaining your goal weight.  But letís face it, very few of us really enjoy exercising. 

I am very excited to announce that my next telephone seminar will be on exercise with Jon Gestl, a former US National Sportsaerobic Champion who had his own negative issues about exercise to overcome. We will cover issues as what to do if you have hit a plateau, how to exercise if you have limited mobility such as a bad back or are wheel chair bound, and how to stay motivated to keep exercising. Jon has a lot of handouts for you that you will be able to download that will give you additional information. 

The last telephone seminar was so popular that 114 people signed up!  That is quite a crowd to be on a line and asking questions. This time we will have an operator to field questions so that none of us will be bothered by any background noise. 

If you are really serious about wanting to do your best with your surgery, you wonít want to miss this fabulous telephone seminar.  

Click here for more information and to register:

Our Office Will Be Closed!

Our office will be closed from Friday June 11th until Friday June 18th.  We will be attending the annual meeting of the American Society for Bariatric Surgery in San Diego, CA. You will still be able to order online, but the orders will not be filled until our return on the 18th.  

So get you orders in early. 

I hope to come back with updated information and if you will be attending the meeting, I hope to see you there!  Our Exhibit booth is # 333.

Research Article:  
  Getting Help
Sometimes our very best plans get derailed because stuff happens. I was en-route to Grand Rapids, MI to speak for Dr. Scholtenís practice and the hard drive in my laptop died. That meant I didnít have my presentation which is really good and really funny and I was speaking in front of 260 people.

I tried not to panic and I asked for help, and those I asked for help came through for me. My husband was able to email the slides to Terri Martintette from US Surgical who brought them to me. And eventually it all worked out. But there were many scary moments in between.

Life provides us with many lessons and humbles us in so many ways. Despite our best plans and efforts, things donít always work out as we expect. This may relate to your weight loss at this point in time. It may not be what you hoped. Or you may have hit your goal and are now regaining weight. The lifeís lesson that I just went through may help you.

Donít panic
You have a problem, youíre not perfect and life is messy. And most important of all, you havenít failed until you decide to give up. You are just being challenged. Believe in yourself that you can find a solution to anything.  You got this far, didnít you?

Ask for help
We are not meant to figure out everything ourselves, especially when it comes to obesity. This is a worldwide problem that no one seems to be able to totally solve. This surgery has given us a tremendous  tool but some people have tools that work better and more efficiently than others.

Sources of help

-         Support Groups

Go, please go. There is no better way (besides this twice monthly newsletter!) to remind you that you are not alone. Your problems are shared by so many others. Fellow support group members can lessen your burden by providing you with inspiration, encouragement, and tips on what has worked for them. If you donít have a support group, try http://groups.yahoo.com and join OSSG, the Obesity Surgery Support Group. This will give you the online version. It is important to stay in touch with those in similar situations

-         Your surgeon

Some are better than others in helping you to deal with your concerns, but definitely speak with your surgeon about any challenges that you are having.

-         Counseling

Many insurance plans cover psychological counseling.  Your difficulties may center on eating issues that you might not even be aware of that are causing you to sabotage your own efforts.

Try these tips and see if they help you to get back on track. And keep believing that you can do it!

Follow up on Water

In the May 1st e-newsletter, I continued an article on water and suggested a taste test contest using the different kinds of water. Thanks to Jen Busard for letting us know how her support group did.

Hi Barbara,
I made the survey a little harder.  I had 4 kinds of bottled water (spring water, municipal water, artesian water and tap water).  Then I had our support group guess which one was which.  They didn't do too badly.  There were 13 members who participated, and 5 of them guessed correctly.  The others were very close. Their favorite kind of water was spring water. The support group thought this was fun and informational.

Thank you! 

Jen Busard
 "Weight No More" Bariatric Support Group
Burlington, Iowa


      Peanut Butter Cookies

Thanks so much to Bobbie Bradshaw at the Shepard Air Force Base, TX for contributing this recipe. This is a recipe for cookies that we eat only once in a great while. But for those rare times when we do eat cookies, this is a good recipe. 

Hi Barbara,
I have this recipe that I created from a recipe that originally called for sugar.  They just melt in your mouth - it is pretty amazing that it does not call for flour.  Everyone that has tried the cookies loves them.  Even those who usually don't like "diet" anything.  It really helps with the protein. 

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup of peanut butter (plain or crunchy)
1 cup of Splenda
1 egg

Mix these ingredients.  Put some Splenda on a plate.  Drop by spoonfuls into the Splenda and roll the cookies around. Place the cookies on baking sheet and use a fork to cris cross the cookies. Bake them at 375 degrees for 8 to10 minutes.  Makes 16 Cookies - 4 grams of protein per cookie.

If you have a recipe that you would like to share in a future issue of this newsletter, please send it to me at Barbara@wlscenter.com

How Do You Maintain Your Weight Loss?

More Success Stories Needed for My Next Book

Are you 2 or more years post-op? If so, I need to know what your secret is for maintaining your weight. I will be using your story in my next book on maintaining your weight loss long term. You must write at least 1 full page. Anything less than 1 page will not be useable. I also need your before and after pictures sent via email. I need to know how you eat, what you do for exercise, and any tips that you have to offer. This will be a tremendous help to people who are having the common problem of weight gain following surgery, or are struggling to maintain their weight loss.

Send your stories to Barbara@wlscenter.com

Permission to Reprint

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Reprinted from Barbara Thompsonís free e-newsletter featuring helpful information and research material to help patients succeed following weight loss surgery.
Subscribe at http://www.barbarathompsonnewsletter.com

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