Thursday, November 20, 2014

Information Session

So July rolled around, and the girls & I went to an information session about Emerson Hospital's gastric bypass program, at the DoubleTree Hilton in Leominster, MA.

We got there, and having never been inside the hotel, had no idea where to go. So we basically stood around looking lost, and kind of wandered over to the front desk. Kerri (coordinator of the program) intercepted us, asked what we were there/looking for, and introduced herself. She showed us where the meeting room was, and warned us that for the first time since they'd been holding sessions there, there was some kind of event going on out in the hall outside the room. So we had to walk through that to get to the meeting room. I kind of wanted to snag a glass of champagne and some celery sticks from the food they were passing around, but I was good. LOL.The people were super dressed up and kind of looked at us weird for being all casual in shorts and flip flops, but whatever. (And I say that as a social phobic fat person, so if I can whatever them, you can, too.)

The meeting room had complimentary diet soda and water! Yay! Kerri passed out information packets with signup sheets in them. And once the room filled up a bit more, she started the meeting. Dr. Lautz was in surgery. She said he would join us if he got out of surgery in time. Kerri went over a lot of the information about the program with us. Emerson offers Lap Band, Sleeve and Gastric Bypass options. Kerri went over them all. There is a program fee, payable just before surgery of $250 beyond what your insurance pays. This is to cover the information sessions and outreach stuff. If you can't afford that, you can get financial aid for it. they can set you up to pay it in installments.* Kerri and Dr. Lautz said it's one of the lowest fees for a bariatric program in the area. (I have no idea what UMass or anywhere else charges, though, so...)

Dr. Lautz did arrive mid-meeting. He's pretty nice. Operating at a slightly higher speed than everyone else, as surgeons seem to do. LOL. He took over the presentation and answered any questions people had about the program. Differences between the surgeries, hospital stay, whatever. Then at the end of the meeting, anyone who was interested in continuing filled out the signup sheet and gave it to Kerri. She said they would process them and get call us within a few weeks.

*It was my original understanding that there was financial aid for the program fee. After calling all over hell's half-acre, we have learned that there is not. They will allow you to make payments on it. Susan, the financial coordinator, said that they like to have $100 paid prior to surgery, and that they will work with you on the rest afterward, if there is a financial issue. Otherwise, you pay the $250 at the consent signing appointment before surgery. Thus, if you change your mind and drop out of the program before that, presumably you won't have to pay the fee.

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