Obesity costing hospitals

The costs associated with treating morbidly obese patients continue to rise, according to a report released Monday. Three-quarters of healthcare facilities report a rise in bariatric surgeries during the past year, according to supply contracting firm Novation. Expenses related to treating morbidly obese patients ranged from $200 to as much as $5 million in the past 12-18 months, with beds accounting for the highest total costs. More than a third (36 percent) of facilities said they went as far as to invest in physical renovations to accommodate obese patients. And the costs aren't likely to go away.

"We see childhood obesity continuing," Cathy Denning, vice president, sourcing operations at Novation," told HealthcareFinanceNews. "From that perspective, we can anticipate this will be a problem for many years to come. … To close our eyes and not accommodate (for these patients) is foolhardy." Denning added, "Hospitals are willing to invest those dollars to do that, even in these times," said Denning. Article