Study: Medicare Coverage of Weight Loss Surgery Lowered Price, Risk
Prior to the change, Medicare only reimbursed physicians for gastric bypass surgeries. A team at the University of Washington analyzed data from CMS on Medicare recipients who underwent weight loss surgery between 2004 and 2008. After Medicare began covering the laparoscopic banding procedure, it increased to more than one-third of weight loss surgeries. Prior to 2006, no one received the surgery.
Prior to the change, Medicare paid about $24,000 per procedure, but only $20,000 per procedure after. Safety also increased. Prior to the change, 15 out of every 1,000 patients undergoing weight loss surgery died within 90 days. After 2006, that number dropped to seven in 1,000. In addition, hospital readmissions decreased from 19 per 100 patients to 15 per 100 patients.
Related Articles on Weight Loss Surgery:
Georgia Cuts Funding for Weight Loss
Patients Gain Weight to Qualify for Weight Loss Surgery
Weight Loss Surgery Benefits Entire Family
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