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General FAQs

  1. Are your surgeons board certified?
  2. Do your surgeons perform the majority of cases open or laparoscopically?
  3. What types of bariatric procedures have your surgeons performed?
  4. What is the mortality rate?
  5. What complications of weight loss surgery do you come across most often?  Is your rate of complications greater or less than the national average?
  6. Which bariatric procedure is best for me?  Why? What are the risks involved?
  7. If I want to have bariatric surgery, how long do I have to wait?
  8. How long will I be in surgery?
  9. What is the length of my anticipated stay?
  10. How long will it be before I can return to presurgery levels of activity?
  11. How will my eating habits change?
  12. Do you have information about bariatric surgery costs and payment options?
  13. Can you provide me with the name of an insurance expert who can assist me in qualifying for surgery?
  14. What is the typical excess weight loss and improvement of associated health conditions for your other clients?
  15. Do you have clients who are willing to share their experiences, both positive and negative?
  16. What information can you give me to help family and friends better understand this surgery?
  17. What do you expect from me if I decide to choose a surgical solution?
  18. Does the program have established guidelines in client selection?
  19. Does your program offer evaluation and treatment for co-morbid conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea?
  20. Is there a dedicated facility and staff for my care?
  21. Does the program offer registered dieticians?
  22. Will you work with my primary care physicians to ensure total wellness?
  23. Will you work with me to get insurance approval?
  24. If I am denied by my insurance company, do you offer any financing options?
  25. Can I have reconstructive surgery here after my weight loss?  if not, can you recommend a surgeon?
  26. Do you offer accommodations and travel assistance for out-of-town clients?
  27. Does the program offer translation services for non-English speaking clients?

 

Client Financing For Bariatric Surgery Click Here For More Info

General FAQs

Are your surgeons board certified?

Our surgeons (Tom Umbach, MD and Matthew Apel. MD) are American medical school graduates and board certified by the American Board of Surgery.

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Do your surgeons perform the majority of cases open or laparoscopically?

Given our surgeons extensive training and experience with operating laparoscopically on clients, nearly all operations are safely started and completed laparoscopically.  Laparoscopic surgery benefits clients because of less wound infections, less pain, and quicker recovery, and faster hospital discharge.*

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What types of bariatric procedures have your surgeons performed?

Our surgeons have vast experience in bariatric surgery, performing an average of 1,000 cases per year, with the two most popular bariatric procedures: the gastric bypass and the gastric sleeve (Safe Sleeve). As a result, he has successfully dealt with a wide variety of complex cases, including revision bariatric surgery or gastric bypass performed elsewhere.

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What is the mortality rate?

Blossom Bariatrics’ mortality rate of 0.2% is significantly less than the national average for the gastric bypass which is 0.5%.  In addition, his mortality rate is 0 for gastric sleeve, which has a national mortality rate of 0.1%.*

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What complications of weight loss surgery do you come across most often?  Is your rate of complications greater or less than the national average?

The types of complications vary based on the weight loss operation performed.  Most commonly, gastric bypass clients can suffer from nausea, particularly early after surgery.  This always resolves with time. Fortunately, major surgical complications, such as blood clots or intestinal leakage, are rare and much less than the national average.  Our doctors feel very strongly that proper preparation for surgery, both mentally and physically, greatly helps limit surgical complications.*

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Which bariatric procedure is best for me?  Why?  What are the risks involved?

After learning more about weight loss surgery by reading websites such as this one and attending a consultation, you and your surgeon will decide the best procedure for you. Any and every operation entails some risks, including the risk of death. Remarkably, the risks of poor health and medical problems stemming from morbid obesity outweighs the surgical risks from weight loss surgery itself.*

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If I want to have bariatric surgery, how long do I have to wait?

Initial consultations and appointments for tests can be scheduled fairly quickly. The amount of time between the first consultation and the date of surgery depends on several factors. These factors depend on completing certain steps, which include insurance approval, any pre-operative education, medical evaluation, and pre-operation work-up. Every individual is different, to start the process Schedule a Consultation

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How long will I be in surgery?

The actual operating time for both the gastric bypass and the gastric sleeve are about an hour or less.  However, because of all the preparation and processes that occur on the day of surgery you can expect to spend several hours in the operating room area, including pre-op area, operating room, and the post op recovery area.

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What is the length of my anticipated stay?

With advances in anesthesia and laparoscopic surgery, clients typically leave our surgery center a few hours after their procedure.  If your procedure is scheduled at a hospital, you may be discharged one or two days after your procedure.

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How long will it be before I can return to pre-surgery levels of activity?

Our surgeons encourage clients to return to normal activity quickly after surgery.  There is no danger to you by performing normal light everyday activities, such as walking, cooking, and shopping – actually, we suggest you walk every hour after surgery to help expel the air inserted into the abdomen and to keep the blood circulating. Most clients find it enjoyable to begin light exercise program soon after discharge from the hospital.  In fact, an early return to activity is important for a safe and speedy recovery.  One important point is that while taking narcotic pain medication, clients should not drive or operate machinery.  Return to work is based upon your own personal recovery and the demands of your job.  Clients often begin light office work Monday the week after surgery.*

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How will my eating habits change?

Weight loss operations enable clients to develop a new and healthy relationship with food.  As part of the preparation, you will attend classes and meet with a dietitian.  After surgery, clients have all the knowledge they need to eat a healthy protein based diet.  Importantly, clients can and should eat a wide variety of foods.  At a restaurant, people will not know that you have had weight loss surgery, but in your post-op literature, we will provide a card that will note you have had a procedure that you should keep on you at all times.

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Do you have information about bariatric surgery costs and payment options?

Costs for weight loss surgery are impossible to quote exactly ahead of time, as they depend on each individual’s weight, BMI, and form of payment. Rough estimates include the costs for the hospitalization, anesthesiologist and surgeon. For those with insurance, it’s important to start the insurance verification  process with our specialists so you understand what is covered. It is also important to take into consideration other fees and co-pays associated with your insurance. For those clients without any insurance coverage, we understand this is a large investment in your health and has finance plans available in our office. For information about self investment, click here.

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Can you provide me with the name of an insurance expert who can assist me in qualifying for weight loss surgery?

Obtaining insurance coverage for weight loss surgery can be very difficult and frustrating.  For example, some clients actually change jobs and or careers to gain proper coverage.  Basically, either you have the insurance benefit or do not.  Clients are no longer able to obtain coverage based on “medical necessity”.  For those clients with insurance coverage, we offer many options to get you to surgery and we will help guide you through the entire authorization process. Let US do the insurance work for you!

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What is the typical excess weight loss and improvement of associated health conditions for your other clients?

Though individual results may vary, through the results of many scientific studies and years of experience, it has shown that the majority of clients will lose about 2/3rds of their excess body weight.  So for a client who is 120 pounds overweight, she can expect to lose 80 pounds and keep it off.  Weight loss surgery generally cures or improves about three quarters of a client’s medical problems.  For a client with diabetes, sleep apnea, and high cholesterol, there is 75% chance that the diabetes, sleep apnea, and/ or high cholesterol will resolve.*

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Do you have clients who are willing to share their experiences, both positive and negative?

It is very important that clients research thoroughly all the pros and cons of surgical weight loss.  This should include talking with other clients, reviewing our testimonials on our website, FacebookGoogle and Yelp, and meeting with your surgeon.  Ask around and you will be surprised how many people you already know that have had weight loss surgery.  Another fabulous resource for all weight loss clients is a website called ObesityHelp.com.  Finally, many of our staff members have undergone the surgery they’re always willing to share their knowledge!

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What information can you give me to help family and friends better understand this weight loss surgery?

Unfortunately, it can be hard for family and friends to understand weight loss surgery. It’s up to you to share your entire journey through the weight loss surgery process with your family to help educate them.  We encourage clients to bring a support person to their consultation and appointments to help them understand the process and procedures.  Friends will quickly learn that this is not the easy way out, it requires hard work and dedication.

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What do you expect from me if I decide to choose a surgical solution?

Just as clients have many expectations of their weight loss operation, we have similar expectations of our clients.  Successful clients attend classes, follow the program guidelines, change their lifestyle, loss weight before surgery, and attend support groups.  Perhaps the most important expectation is that clients understand this is a lifelong change and they must follow up with their surgeon.*

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Does the program have established guidelines in client selection?

Our guidelines for bariatric client selection match those developed by the National Institutes of Health back in 1991.  Clients can qualify for weight loss surgery when they are 50 pounds or more overweight.  Additional criteria for selecting clients for surgery are similar to those needed for any major elective operation.  In general, client should be between the ages of 18 and 68, able to walk a block, have stable controlled medical problems, non-smoking, and be knowledgeable of the surgical risks.*

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Does your program offer evaluation and treatment for co-morbid conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea?

Morbid obesity is associated with many other medical conditions. At Blossom Bariatrics, we offer sophisticated and comprehensive care for these co-morbidities, such as sleep apnea and diabetes mellitus. In addition, our doctors work closely with the referring primary care physician to optimize the associated medical conditions of his clients. The purpose of a thorough client preparation is to make their weight loss surgery as safe as possible.*

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Is there a dedicated facility and staff for my care?

Blossom Bariatrics is dedicated at all levels to care for our clients. This commitment includes extensive in-house testing, board certified bariatric surgeons, a Registered Dietitian, in-house therapist, pre- and post-operative support, and our own dedicated surgical center.

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Does the program offer registered dieticians?

Preparation for weight loss surgery involves multiple steps. During the initial consultation, clients meet directly with one of our doctors. Clients will then meet with our registered dietitian for their personalized evaluation.  These same dietitians are available for additional visits as required by the client’s insurance company or the individual.  Additional dietary education will include an educational class covering the basics of nutrition and successful eating habits.

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Will you work with my primary care physicians to ensure total wellness?

A successful surgical weight loss program involves the client’s primary care physician during all phases of their journey. Additional records from your doctor may be needed to complete the surgical evaluation.  In return, our office will keep the primary care physician informed by sending copies of visits and reports.

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Will you work with me to get insurance approval?

Our insurance specialists will work hard with each client to obtain insurance approval and maximize your benefits.  The insurance approval process culminates with submission for pre-authorization for the operation.  Blossom Bariatrics sends a detailed and comprehensive packet tailored to the specific requirements of the client’s insurance company for pre-authorization.  This results a very high chance of approval the first time around with the insurance company.* We suggest allowing us to work with your insurance company instead of you, the client, trying to navigate it.

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If I am denied by my insurance company, do you offer any financing options?

Because of a thorough preparation for insurance authorization, denials are rare.  However, as a service to our clients, our surgeons may personally call the medical director of the insurance company for each denial. This approach can typically result in reversal of the denial.  If your insurance company denies your appeal you can consider hiring an insurance lawyer or insurance advocate, both of whom can be very helpful. The insurance lawyer or advocate should have an in-depth understanding of the appeals process, as well as any laws that apply, and how to go about responding to the insurance company. With some insurance carriers, the number of appeals that you can make is limited. So be sure to learn as much as possible about the appeals process ahead of time. As a last resort, clients can finance their operation through outside loan programs available at Blossom Bariatrics.

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Does your program offer support groups following weight loss surgery?

One the most important habits for a successful client is regular attendance at support groups. Though it is difficult to find the time to attend, clients always learn something at each support group meeting. Blossom Bariatrics will have regularly scheduled support groups for clients. Please refer to our support groups signup portal to get started!

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Can I have reconstructive surgery here after my weight loss?  If not, can you recommend a surgeon?

Prospective clients frequently have many questions about the need for plastic surgery after major weight loss.  However, the actual number of clients who eventually pursue plastic surgery is quite small.  Most clients after becoming healthier and happier are satisfied with their new bodies.  For those clients who still wish to have plastic surgery, we may refer you to a specialist for a consultation.

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Do you offer accommodations and travel assistance for out-of-town clients?

Yes we do. We are on of the first bariatric clinics in the US to offer an all inclusive package for our out of state clients. One of the many reasons Dr. Umbach came to Las Vegas was to establish a concierge practice for clients from out of the area!  Our program includes hotel and ground transportation, the only thing you have to do is get here and we will take care of the rest! Visit our Fast Track page to learn more.

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Does the program offer translation services for non-English speaking clients?

Blossom Bariatrics is proud to offer their services in both English and Spanish. In addition, a full range of translation services is offered at Blossom Bariatrics.

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Billing FAQs

Will my insurance be billed?

Yes. The services that you receive during your stay with Blossom will typically generate about 8 to 12 separate claims that will be billed at industry standard rates to your insurance.

 

What if my insurance company sends me forms to complete?

Some forms are necessary for the processing of your claim’s others are just routine and may not need to be completed. Please reach out to the billing team and we will be happy to help you know what is necessary and what is not. 888-221-2297 or [email protected]

 

Will I receive a billing statement?

Yes! You will actually receive billing statements for each of the entities involved in your care during your surgery week until the claims are paid in full (Blossom Bariatrics, Blossom Medical Group and Warm Springs Surgical Center). These are for informational purpose only, they are not a bill.

 

I have Blue Cross Blue Shield why am I receiving insurance checks?

Unfortunately, some insurance companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield choose to put their patients in the middle of the billing process by sending physician and facility insurance checks to the patient. These checks will need to be endorsed and forwarded to Blossom as quickly as possible. Our billing office is here to help with any questions that you may have, and in turn, may need your help with your insurance company from time to time.

 

Will the billing department be contacting me?

Possibly! It is our goal to make this process as seamless as possible but occasionally we may need the patient/or insured to help with some insurance information. This might include a simple signature giving us permission to appeal a claim or a letter from the patient regarding their procedure.

 

Will this procedure be applied to my deductible and out of pocket maximum?

Yes! We are not providers for most insurance companies so the majority of the claims will be processed out of network and will be applied to your out of network insurance benefits.

 

Who do I call if I have questions regarding a letter or something I received from my insurance?

Please direct all billing related questions directly to the billing department. The Blossom staff does a fantastic job on preparing the medical side and the billing department specializes in all your billing needs! You may contact the billing department by calling 888-221-2297 or you are welcome to email [email protected]. Hours are Monday-Thursday 7a-6p MST.

 

*Individual results may vary.