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Bariatric Surgery

Provider Type

  • Physicians
  • Participating Physician Groups (PPG)
  • Hospitals

Bariatric surgery provided for the treatment of morbid obesity is covered when medically necessary, authorized by Health Net or a delegated participating physician group (PPG), and performed at a Health Net Bariatric Surgery Performance Center (PDF) by a participating surgeon.

Direct network physicians and non-delegated PPGs may submit prior authorization requests for bariatric surgery to Health Net Medical Management Department.

Health Net's standardized review process monitors and evaluates bariatric surgery participating providers' quality and outcomes to ensure access to high-quality bariatric surgical care for Health Net members. Health Net bariatric performance centers must be accredited by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP) or currently in the accreditation application process. Hospitals and surgeons must continuously be in good standing through MBSAQIP and other industry-accepted oversight organizations.

Health Net's bariatric surgery participating providers are evaluated at least every calendar year to ensure each hospital and surgeon meets Health Net criteria. This evaluation is based on data reported each calendar year by the participating provider using Health Net's data submission process. Health Net may conduct off-cycle reviews upon discovery of substandard clinical care practices, as evidenced by changes in the participating provider's MBSAQIP designation level.

Evaluation Criteria

Health Net's bariatric surgery participating providers are evaluated annually based on the following criteria.

Hospitals:

  • Volume must meet a minimum of 125 bariatric surgery procedures every two calendar years
  • 30-day mortality must be equal to or less than one percent
  • One-year mortality must be equal to or less than one percent

Surgeons:

  • Volume must meet a minimum of 50 bariatric surgery procedures every two calendar years
  • 30-day mortality must be equal to or less than one percent
  • One-year mortality must be equal to or less than one percent

Data Monitoring

Health Net idenitifies regularly monitored measures based on the above criteria or when a new industry standard is set. Health Net may request an explanation from the hospital or surgeon when results fall below standards. Additionally, each year, Health Net collects and reviews data to adhere to the following specifications:

  • The percentage of readmissions must be equal to or less than five percent
  • Average length of stay (ALOS) must be equal to or less than the current Milliman Benchmarks for surgical procedures
  • The percentage of complications must be equal to or less than three percent

Letter of Deficiency Process

If a bariatric surgeon does not comply with evaluation criteria, Health Net sends a letter of deficiency and indicates if a response is required within 21 days. If the provider does not respond by the deadline and a response is required, Health Net sends a certified letter with a two-week extension. If the provider still does not respond after the second deadline has expired, Health Net sends a third and final notice to the participating provider regarding the deficiency. This notice informs the participating provider of Health Net's decision including potential termination of the bariatric surgery program due to non-reponse.

Corrective Action Plan Submission and Implementation

If a bariatric surgery participating provider does not comply with all of the evaluation criteria or results are deficient for three consecutive periods, a corrective action process may be initiated and a corrective action plan (CAP) requested. Health Net may request that the provider submit explanations prior to the request for a formal CAP. Additionally, if a program does not meet the criteria standards required for bariatric surgery performance centers or is under investigation by MBSAQIP or any other industry-accepted oversight organizations, Health Net requests that the bariatric surgery program share the oversight organization's findings and recommendations.

When requested, based on non-compliance with bariatric surgery criteria, the bariatric surgery participating hospital or surgeon must submit the CAP within 21 calendar days. Health Net reviews it to ensure it is appropriate and complete. If Health Net does not approve the CAP, a second notice is sent to the bariatric surgery participating provider allowing an additional 15 calendar days to revise the CAP and resubmit it to Health Net.

Health Net sends a third and final notice to the bariatric surgery participating provider upon continued non-responsiveness requests for a CAP or insufficient progress towards correcting the deficiencies. This notice informs the participating provider of Health Net's decision, including potential termination of the bariatric surgery program. Bariatric surgery participating providers may avoid these actions if both of the following occur:

  • The provider submits an acceptable CAP to Health Net within 15 calendar days of receipt of the final notice
  • The provider completes and demonstrates substantial progress toward completing the correction within 30 calendar days

The bariatric surgery provider must submit updates six months and one year after the original CAP submission date, or until completion of the CAP. If volume or outcome criteria are not met for two sequential data collection periods, Health Net may suspend new patient referrals for that participating provider. If criteria are not met for three sequential data collection periods, Health Net may take a remedial action, up to and including termination of the participating provider's contract.

Onsite Visits

At any time, either Health Net or a bariatric surgery provider may request, with reasonable advance notice, a meeting at the providers's office to discuss bariatric surgery program issues or concerns. Both parties must agree to attend.

Adding Bariatric Surgeons or Performance Centers

Existing Health Net bariatric surgeons who are interested in adding bariatric sugeons to their practice must have the surgeons undergo the request for information (RFI) process. Hospitals interested in becoming a Health Net performance center must be accredited by MBSAQIP and also undergo an RFI process. Providers may request and RFI via email at cqi_dsm@healthnet.com

Last Updated: 04/07/2021