Sunday, May 25, 2008

American College of Surgeons accredits Mini-Gastric Bypass procedure to settle lawsuit filed by surgical group

Greensboro, NC
Doctors with Cornerstone Health Care in High Point again can be reimbursed for bariatric surgeries after the American College of Surgeons agreed to settle a lawsuit and accredit their procedure.

Without accreditation from the group, Dr. Thomas Walsh and Dr. James Dasher could not have billed Medicare or many major private insurers for the weight-loss surgery. Cornerstone and High Point Regional Health System, where they perform the procedure, sued the college Feb. 5 in the Middle District of North Carolina claiming the group was trying to shut them out of the lucrative practice -- which generated more than $5.1 billion nationally for hospitals last year -- by denying accreditation.

The college agreed to accredit the program last week, and Cornerstone and High Point Regional have dropped their suit.

Dasher and Walsh began performing mini-gastric bypass surgery on morbidly obese patients at High Point Regional in 2002 and have done more than 650 operations since. In their suit, High Point Regional and Cornerstone said the average patient lost 120 pounds to 140 pounds and maintained the weight loss for at least 18 to 24 months after surgery.

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