The overall purpose of the study is to determine prospectively the cost effectiveness of
bariatric surgery following partial coverage by a large healthcare system.
Epidemiological studies show that the incidence of morbid obesity is increasing at a
considerably greater rate than any other obesity category. The National Institutes of
Health, along with a number of medical and scientific national and international
professional organizations, recognize that bariatric surgery is the only long-term effective
treatment for individuals with morbid obesity. Along with massive and sustained weight
loss, bariatric surgery resolves/improves obesity co-morbidities (type 2 diabetes,
hypertension, cardiovascular disease, fatty liver disease, asthma, osteoarthritis, fatty
liver disease, obstructive sleep apnea, dyslipidemia, hyperlipidemia, infertility,
depression, cancer risk, fertility, and more) and significantly increases longevity.
Despite the well-documented benefits of bariatric surgery in terms of health and healthcare
costs, many insurers deny coverage for the surgery out of fear that the cost of surgery will
financially burden the system. These insurers, however, fail to consider the improvement in
obesity-related diseases and associated cost savings. The recent change in policy by the
Florida Hospital Healthcare System (FHHS) that allows for partial coverage of bariatric
surgery provides the unique opportunity to study prospectively the cost effectiveness of the
surgery, i.e. cost of surgery vs. cost savings. Study participants will include
approximately 75 to 100 FHHS covered individuals (18 to 64 years) who have been approved for
bariatric surgery and who have provided their written consent for study participation.
The study protocol will include a review of patient insurance records for cost analysis of
medication and medical expenses prior to surgery and over a two-year period postoperatively.
Patients will also be asked to consent to the completion of a yearly questionnaire
concerning the status of their obesity co-morbidities, medication use and dosage, and sick
leave. The outcome of this prospective study will allow for assessment of the costs of
surgery, cost saving in terms of medication and medical expenses, and the potential time
period required for return on investment. Such data, when shared with others through
peer-review journal publications, may assist other employee healthcare systems in their
decision to provide coverage for bariatric procedures.
- Insured under the FHHS
- Have been approved for bariatric surgery
- Have provided their written consent for study participation.
- Approved bariatric surgery patients covered by (FHHS)Florida Hospital Healthcare
Systems will be excluded from the study if they fail to provide written consent.
- Surgery exclusion:
BMI less than or equal to 35 without at least two major co-morbidities pregnancy active
alcoholism or drug abuse suicidal ideation cancer or another wasting disease mental
handicap and inability to provide written consent.