Screening Task Force Makes Recommendation on Obesity

June 27, 2012



Is this the Michelle Obama effect? The U. S. Preseventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), the body charged with establishing guidelines for screening in healthcare delivery, is now endorsing screening for obesity and recommending that providers offer 12 weeks of counseling. The group’s statement carries more weight (pun unintended) then many other immediate recommendations because it is likely that insurance will reimburse for such services.

The task force uses an alphabetical tiered system for categorizing the applicability of its recommendations that will have the greatest clinical impact for clinicians and patients alike. (Category A usually denotes recommendations based upon data characterized as having high certainty that the net benefit is substantial, and so on.) The obesity screening recommendation is classified as a B.

A and B grades usually result in coverage by insurance companies. The PPACA  requires that insurers cover preventive services endorsed by the USPSTF – those with a grade of A or B — without charging co-payments or deductibles. Outside of the obvious, this means providers may feel more liberal about screening, which could boost preventive medical efforts and have a future impact on healthcare spending. | LINK