Physicians Gain In Weight Loss Clinics

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media , August 4, 2011

Doctors across the country are looking for ways to supplement their income,” he adds. “There are all kinds of sideline business that doctors are trying, whether it's in Botox and spas, or weight loss centers,” Urquhart says.

Ferguson, of the STOP Obesity Alliance, says she can see the pluses for a physician like Urquhart going into the weight loss clinic world. “It may be saying, ‘this is such a relief to me, knowing [patients] are coming in specifically about weight; I'm able to devote this time to this person, and talk to this person, because I'm not worried about insurance, how much time I have, and this person is cash and carry,” she says.

Within the physician-run weight loss clinic, “you've got a motivated provider, a motivated patient, in a direct pay relationship,” Ferguson says. “This will be a better interaction than someone coming into the doctor's office in a pre-diabetic condition and complaining about being tired, and not wanting to talk about weight loss, and the doctor trying to figure out in 10 minutes.”

The STOP Obesity Alliance has no figures on how many physicians are opting to leave or reduce their practices for the weight loss clinic field, Ferguson says, although Medi-Weightloss Clinics issued a statement saying more doctors are going into the field.

As an OB/GYN, Urquhart says he noticed he and his colleagues “just didn't have the time to deal with it and we were not structured to deal with it,” referring to weight loss issues. Now, he's dealing with weight loss, all the time. Bye-bye, babies.

Joe Cantlupe is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media Online.
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