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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Bariatrician? 

What is an Endocrinologist?
Why see a medical weight loss specialist?
What does board certification in bariatric medicine entail?
What is the cost to enroll in and follow up in your program?
How is your program different from other weight loss programs?
Do you treat adolescents and children?
What if I have previously had bariatric surgery?
Do you prescribe medications to assist with weight loss?
Do I have to take medications to assist with weight loss?
If I am taking weight loss medications, can I get my medications in the office?
Do I have to buy food or other products in your clinic?
How often do I need to be seen in the clinic?
What is a Nurse Practitioner (NP)?

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What is a “Bariatrician” ?

A “Bariatrician” is a licensed physician who has received specialized training in bariatric medicine, which is the medical subspecialty that that focuses on the medical treatment of overweight and obesity and their related conditions. As a board certified Bariatrician, Dr. Sicat assesses every patient with a comprehensive approach using tools such as diet and nutrition, exercise, lifestyle changes, lifestyle management, and when indicated, the prescription of appetite suppressants and other appropriate medications.

Dr. Sicat is a member of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians (ASBP) which is a national subspecialty society that is dedicated to the teaching and training of healthcare providers in the field of weight loss and their associated conditions. [click here to return to top]


 
What is an “Endocrinologist” ?

An “Endocrinologist” is an Internal Medicine physician that sub-specializes in glandular disorders, hormones, and metabolism.  Endocrinologists are specialists in diabetes, thyroid disorders, pituitary, adrenal, testosterone, menstrual cycles, calcium, and bone conditions. 

Dr. Sicat is a member of The Endocrine Society (TES), as well as the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE)

Board certified in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism since 2004 and recertified in 2014, Dr. Sicat found his and his patients’ greatest satisfaction in using the field of weight loss medicine to treat the many endocrine conditions that benefit from weight loss, nutrition, and exercise.  Thus sprouted his passion to devote his focus on the field of bariatric medicine. [click here to return to top]

 
Why see a medical weight loss specialist?

While many patients find success with commercial weight loss programs, there are many patients in commercial weight loss programs who are not able to achieve there goals.  Those patients who do not achieve their goal may consider a medical weight loss specialist.

A physician-supervised medical weight loss program has the capacity to use many more tools (adjust or stop medications that may be causing weight gain, prescribe medications that may promote weight loss, order laboratory, cardiac, and sleep testing) and monitoring modalities that are not available to commercial weight loss programs.  Thus a medical weight loss specialist may be the most affective way for you to lose weight, and especially for patients who are on multiple medications, a medical weight loss specialist may be the safest way for you to lose weight.

Overweight and obesity are frequently accompanied by other medical conditions, such as diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol.  There are many medications which may cause weight gain or prevent weight loss -- Dr. Sicat will work with your other physicians to see if there may be alternative options. 

With active weight loss, these other medical conditions must be monitored and managed aggressively considering active weight loss may require immediate reductions in blood pressure pills, diabetes pills, and insulin.  A bariatric physician is trained to monitor and adjust your therapies while you are actively losing weight.  Failure to adjust these medications can pose a significant danger to patients due to potential hypoglycemia, low blood pressure, and dehydration which might go undetected and untreated in a non-medical weight loss program.

Dr. Sicat is board certified in Obesity Medicine (by the American Board of Obesity Medicine), Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism (by the American Board of Medical Subspecialties).  During your weight loss journey, while your focus may be on weight loss, his focus is on monitoring your overall health, providing you with the best tools to achieve your goal, all the while ensuring your safety through the entire process.   [click here to return to top]


 
What does Board Certification in Bariatric Medicine entail?

 

In addition to being a member of the Obesity Medicine Association (OMA), Dr. Sicat is also board certified by the American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM), as well as the American Board of Bariatric Medicine (ABBM).  This involved a multiyear, multistep process including 1) passing a written board examination, 2) passing an oral board examination, and 3) passing a site review in which the national board of Bariatric Medicine previously sent a national board member bariatric physician to Richmond to review on-site Dr. Sicat's medical practice.  This physician reported back to the national board testifying to the high quality of the clinic thus completing Dr. Sicat’s board certification.  [click here to return to top]


 
What is the cost to enroll in and follow up in your program?


Medical weight loss services are not covered by insurance.

Your first visit for consultation with Dr. Sicat costs $200 or with Kelly Steiner, Erin Poston, or Heather Sedwick the cost is $150.  This includes:

        •  A history and physical examination
        •  A comprehensive review of your weight history
        •  An analysis of your nutrition and exercise status,
        •  A detailed body composition measurement (InBody 230 machine)
        •  An EKG if indicated based on your medical history, your physical exam, and other factors 
        •  A detailed weight loss plan customized to your needs

Blood tests are often requested based on your specific medical conditions and individual needs.  These may include blood chemistries, kidney and liver functions, cholesterol levels, and thyroid levels.  If you have recently had these tests drawn, please bring with you or arrange a copy of these tests to be faxed to our office.

Please note if you are interested in using any weight loss medications, we must have results of blood testing prior to prescribing.  This can be arranged at your initial clinic visit and once reviewed a prescription if indicated can be transmitted to your pharmacy after our healthcare providers have reviewed the results.

 

        •  If labs are requested they can be drawn in our office or at LabCorp (or the lab of your choice)

        •  A LabCorp phlebotomist is in our office available to draw your labs Tuesday - Friday from 8:20 am - noon
        •  LabCorp will bill your insurance company directly

We recognize your busy schedule and understand how demanding it can be to come to frequent follow up visits.  Thus, follow up visits are typically once every 1-2 months (patient specific) and cost $80 with Dr. Sicat or $75 with Kelly Steiner, NP or Erin Poston, PA-C,or Heather Sedwick, PA-C.  This cost does not include the cost of medications or meal replacements if you are using them.  During follow up visits, we monitor your health, celebrate your success, and work through any hurdles that you have encountered during the month.  [click here to return to top]
 

 
Am I a candidate for the clinic?


Whether you have more than 100 lbs to lose or just 10 lbs to lose, we will work with you to customize a plan to help you move towards your goal. 

All individuals have different needs.  While all people may benefit from nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle counseling, some people find better success with the addition of weight loss medications.  At all times, we keep your best interest in mind.  There are even some individuals who may even be counseled to consider bariatric surgery.
 

While Dr. Sicat specializes in bariatric medicine, he has a very good working relationship with local bariatric surgeons and works with patients both before and after their surgery.  [click here to return to top]


 
How is your Program different from other Weight Loss Programs?

Some weight loss clinics require you to follow their specific "weight loss program" ... however, some patients may not qualify or be candidates for that particular program based on their medical conditions, cardiovascular disease, or ability to make frequent clinic visits.  At Virginia Weight and Wellness, we do not have a singular program or protocol, and we avoid an "all or nothing" approach.  At Virginia Weight and Wellness, instead of following our program, we partner with you to design an individualized program around you and your particular needs to promote long-lasting success.  
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Do you treat children and adolescents?


Virginia Weight and Wellness works with teens as young as age 16 who have overweight or obesity.   [click here to return to top]


 
What if I have previously had bariatric surgery?


Patients who previously have undergone bariatric surgery often have special nutritional requirements depending on which surgery they have had.  Dr. Sicat is trained in these special needs and encourages all patients to continue to follow up with their bariatric surgeon, but to also consider following up long term as well with a medical bariatrician especially if they are experiencing weight regain or nutritional problems after their surgery.  [click here to return to top]
 


 
Do you prescribe medications to assist with weight loss?

While healthy nutrition and increased activity are the key factors necessary to achieve weight loss, studies consistently show that the addition of weight loss medications to diet and exercise lead to significantly greater amounts of weight loss.  As such, we have extensive experience with weight loss medications and we do prescribe medications (if indicated) as an additional tool for weight loss.  Safety is our greatest priority and the decision to use medications is based on an individualized and personal basis.

If you are interested in using weight loss medications, the Virginia Board of Medicine requires that we have blood and thyroid tests to review prior to prescribing and some appetite suppressants require having an EKG within the last 90 days (we can perform in the office if indicated). 
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Do I have to take medications to assist with weight loss?

 

While addition of weight loss medications to a healthy nutrition and exercise plan have shown greater amounts of weight loss in patients, some patients do not need nor want to use prescription medications.  Every medication has benefits but also risks and some patients should not use certain medications. 

 

Safety is our greatest priority and the decision to use medications is based on an individualized and personal basis.

 

You do NOT have to use weight loss medications to achieve healthy weight loss.   [click here to return to top]

 
If I am taking weight loss medications, can I get my medications in the office?

 
If you are interested in and prescribed a medication to assist with or enhance weight loss, we will give you your prescription to bring to the pharmacy of your choice.  However, as an added convenience and option, Dr. Sicat also has a license to dispense certain medications directly to you from the office during your visit with him. 

Please note that only physicians can dispense medications directly from the office and thus if you are following up with Kelly Steiner, NP, or Erin Poston, PA-C, or Heather Sedwick, PA-C, your prescription cannot be dispensed directly from the office due to Virginia Board of Pharmacy regulations, and you will need to have your prescription filled at the pharmacy of your choice. 
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Do I have to buy food or other products in your clinic?

 

Many weight loss programs require you to purchase meal replacements and food products from their clinic programs. 

 

While certain meal replacements are available in our office, we encourage and teach you to use regular food from your grocery store, with your selections based on your food preferences and budget, to incorporate into your healthy nutrition plan.   [click here to return to top] 

 
How often do I need to be seen in the clinic?

We appreciate your very busy schedule and understand how difficult it is to come for frequent office visits.  We appreciate and are respectful of your time.  After your 1st visit, we usually suggest that you return on a monthly basis to monitor your progress, to work through possible hurdles, to maintain your focus, and to adjust your therapy whether nutrition, lifestyle, or medication based.  Some people follow up at longer intervals (i.e. every 1-2 months but patient specific).  Once you have reached your goal, we traditionally space out your visits to the minimum number and frequency needed to maintain your motivation and success.  
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What is a Nurse Practitioner (NP)?

Nurse practitioners (NPs) are registered professional nurses who are prepared, through advanced graduate education and extensive clinical training, to provide a wide range of health care services, including the diagnosis and management of common, as well as complex medical conditions to individuals of all ages.  Becoming a nurse practitioner requires licensure and practice as a registered nurse, followed by a Masters or PhD degree in Nursing, including extensive clinical experience and training, as well as national board certification to practice medicine. 

Nurse practitioners are able to diagnose and manage medical conditions, prescribe prescription medications, order tests, and evaluate and manage conditions just a physician would.   

[Note: a nurse practitioner can prescribe medications but nurse practioners cannot dispense them to you within an office pharmacy due to restrictions regulated by the Virginia Board of Nursing and the Virginia Board of Pharmacy]

Click here for information about the nurse practitioners from the American College of Nurse Practitioners.  [click here to return to top]


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