Hospitals are facing additional costs of up to $500,000 per year per institution associated with treating or accommodating severely obese patients, according to a survey by group purchasing giant Novation. Costs include remodeling facilities; purchasing special equipment such as larger-sized beds, blood pressure cuffs, gowns, wall toilets and wheelchairs; and training staff to move overweight patients. Novation said 80% of 69 hospitals surveyed said that in the past year they have seen greater numbers of severely obese patients -- defined as being overweight by at least 100 pounds. Some 53% of the hospitals said costs incurred in treating obese patients increase the cost of care for others; 17% reported remodeling facilities to accommodate obese patients; and 41% said they changed patient procedures to accommodate an increased number of obese patients. Caring for a seriously obese patient might cost $500 to $10,000 more per hospital visit than care for a patient of average weight, Novation said. -- by Julie Piotrowski
Costs of caring for severely obese add up: survey
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