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Cleveland Clinic reaches south to battle obesity


By Rachel Landen
Posted: April 25, 2014 - 1:15 pm ET
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Physicians in one of the country's most obese areas will soon be getting help from experts at the Cleveland Clinic to confront their local piece of the national health challenge.

Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, Edinburg, Texas, and Cleveland Clinic's Bariatric and Metabolic Institute have signed an affiliation agreement that will give the south Texas facility access to greater resources for battling diabetes and obesity. The first of its kind for Cleveland Clinic's Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, it will provide the Texas hospital with assistance for obesity and related disease management, bariatric surgery, clinical trials, treatment protocols and research opportunities, according to the release announcing the deal.

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Though Cleveland Clinic physicians will not interact directly with DHR patients, they will provide the hospital's doctors with consulting and advisory services, best practices, education and training in exchange for an undisclosed fee, said Dr. Philip Schauer, director of Cleveland Clinic's Bariatric and Metabolic Institute.

“Our mission is to be a resource for patients and healthcare providers at DHR—to provide guidance and share our expertise—to enable the delivery of world-class treatment for individuals suffering from obesity and diabetes,” Schauer said in a release. “Together, we can best combat the 'diabesity' epidemic.”

The McAllen-Edinburg-Mission metro area was identified this month as the second most obese area in the U.S., according to a poll from Gallup. More than 38.3% of its residents are overweight.

In 2011, when Gallup named the McAllen area as the most obese metropolitan area in the country, it was estimated that the area pays more than $400 million annually in unnecessary healthcare costs as a result of the high obesity rate. Reducing the rate to 15%, Gallup estimated, could save the area more than $250 million in healthcare costs each year.

“Obesity is a major public health concern in our community,” Dr. Manish Singh, medical director of the Doctors Hospital at Renaissance Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, said in the release. “Cleveland Clinic's bariatric program has shown world-class excellence in treating obesity and its related diseases with modern treatment strategies, research and education. The association of DHR and Cleveland Clinic will bring the same world-class care and experience to the residents of the Rio Grande Valley.”

Follow Rachel Landen on Twitter: @MHrlanden


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