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Bariatric Surgery Cost, Quality Vary Widely

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, July 28, 2009

The study also found that:

  •  Bariatric surgery patients treated at top-rated hospitals have, on average a 67% lower chance of experiencing serious complications compared to patients who receive treatment at poorly rated hospitals.

  •  Patients having surgery at five-star hospitals spent, on average, more than half a day less in the hospital (2.15 days) compared to patients having surgery in one-star hospitals (2.72 days).

  •  Of the 19 states studied, more than 61% of all procedures were performed in five states: New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, California, and Florida.

  •  Patients in Vermont, on average, spent the most time in the hospital (3.26 days), while patients in Nevada, on average, spent the least amount of time in the hospital (1.56 days).

  •  The number of inpatient procedures during the study years 2005 through 2007 showed no significant increase, but an increasing percentage of surgeries are being performed outpatient.

  •  More Center of Excellence bariatric surgery programs earned a five-star rating (29.5%) than non-COE programs (12.3%).

  •  Laparospcopic bariatric surgery procedures account for 79% of all procedures, up from 54% in last year's study.

  •  Patients had a three times lower in-hospital death rate associated with a bariatric surgery if they had it performed at a five-star hospital versus a one-star hospital.

The states included in the study were: Arizona, California, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.


John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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