Competition increases at weight-reduction surgery centers

With weight-loss reduction surgery increasingly popular, many hospitals are discovering that the field is a welcome source of revenue. A fair number have concluded that offering the obesity treatment can help offset the expenses of revenue drains like emergency rooms and the cost of providing care to the uninsured. That is leading to increased competition among hospitals in states like California, where the law often makes it difficult for insurers to turn down claims. Critics wonder, however, if the trend neglects patient safety and wonder about the risks posed by inexperienced surgeons jumping into the field. "It's a gold rush in medicine," notes Roland Sturm, an economist at Rand. "No hospital or doctor wants to be left behind."

- see this story from the Los Angeles Times