What Happens After You Request Bariatric Surgery
If you are considering bariatric surgery for weight loss, this overview can help you understand the process at Group Health.
- Your first step is to tell your primary care physician that you are interested in bariatric surgery. Your physician can refer you to Bariatric Surgery at our Bellevue clinic. The bariatric case manager will process your referral through Group Health's Clinical Review Unit.
- The Clinical Review Unit evaluates the referral request to determine if you meet the medical criteria for bariatric surgery and if the surgery is covered by your health plan.
- A letter approving or denying the surgery request will be sent to you, your physician, and the Group Health bariatric case manager.
Back to: Bariatric Surgery at Group Health
Steps After Approval
If the request is approved, the approval letter will tell you to call the Bariatric Clinic to schedule an intake appointment with the bariatric case manager. The intake appointment is a 30-minute phone consultation with the case manager to review your medical history. After the phone appointment, the case manager will order any labs, tests, and other medical assessments that may be needed before surgery.
You will be required to enroll in a weight management program before surgery. This is an out-of-pocket expense that is not covered by insurance. (Medicare patients aren't required to enroll.) Patients work with the weight management program for about two months before surgery and about 10 months after surgery.
A packet of information will be mailed to you. This includes a booklet about Group Health's bariatric, nutritional requrements and a checklist of the tests, labs, and referrals that were ordered for you. You'll also receive information about bariatric support groups. After you are approved for the procedure, you will be encouraged to start attending support group meetings before surgery.
Your packet also will include a psychosocial questionnaire for you to fill out and mail in an enclosed envelope. A social worker or psychologist will then schedule an appointment with you to review your responses.
The bariatric case manager will review results of lab tests, studies, and consultations as they are completed. If necessary, the case manager will order additional medical assessments.
Surgery Is Scheduled
Once you have completed all required tests, studies, and referral appointments — and you have complied with any other requirements based on those assessments — you will contact the bariatric case manager to schedule a pre-op consult with the surgeon and the dietitian. Your surgery will be scheduled following these two consults.
Post-Surgery Visits and Support
Follow-up: After surgery, you will have regular follow-up appointments. Patients who have RNY gastric bypass procedure will have follow-up visits every three months for the first year, every six months for the second year, and then yearly.
Patients who have the lap band procedure will have follow-up visits at least every three months during the first year; more frequent visits may be needed for lap band adjustments. After the first year, patients are seen at least once a year and as needed for lap band adjustments.
These post-surgery appointments are critical for patient success.
Support groups: You will be encouraged to participate in a bariatric support group before and after surgery. Group Health sponsors seven bariatric support groups around the Puget Sound area that meet monthly. Groups are made up of Group Health members who have had bariatric surgery or who have been approved and are preparing for surgery. Groups are led by Group Health professionals, either nurses or social workers.
If you live in Eastern Washington, Group Health can direct you to support groups in your community.
If you have additional questions or concerns, contact the bariatric case manager, Julie Grimm, RN, at 425-502-3454.