Gastric bypass surgery for severe obesity at Pennsylvania hospitals increased tenfold from 1999 to 2003, when 6,791 patients underwent the procedure at a cost of $240 million in hospital charges, according to the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council. The number of surgeons performing the surgery rose to 84 in 2003 from 31 in 1999, while the number of hospitals offering it increased to 49 from 26. Gastric bypass surgery for severe obesity accounted for more than 23,000 hospital days in Pennsylvania in 2003, with an average hospital charge of $35,643. From 1999 to 2003, hospital charges related to the procedure totaled $585 million, and 85% of the surgeries were billed to insurers. A complicated procedure, the 2,684 gastric bypass surgeries performed in 2001 necessitated 1,050 readmissions and more than $22.6 million in additional hospital charges, according to the study. Read the report. -- by Cinda Becker
Tenfold growth in obesity surgery in Pa.
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