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Bariatric surgery complication rates high in some hospitals, new HealthGrades ratings and study show

GOLDEN, Colo. (November 13, 2006) -- In-hospital bariatric surgery complication rates vary dramatically among the nation's hospitals, according to a study released today by HealthGrades, the leading healthcare ratings company. The study of 86,520 bariatric-surgery procedures performed over the years 2002 through 2004 finds that a typical patient receiving the procedure in a five-star rated hospital would have, on average, a 66 percent lower chance of developing one or more major inhospital complications compared with a one-star rated hospital.

Based on the study, HealthGrades, for the first time, today posted quality ratings for hospitals in 17 states that perform bariatric surgery on its consumer Web site, HealthGrades.com. Hospitals received a five-, three- or one-star rating that reflected their complication rates for bariatric surgery, also known as weight-loss surgery, obesity surgery and gastric-bypass surgery.

The HealthGrades study comes on the heels of a study published in July by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which found that four of every ten patients undergoing bariatric surgery develop complications within six months.

The percentage of U.S. adults who are obese has doubled in the last thirty years, reaching 30 percent according to the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. The number of bariatric surgeries in America are increasing dramatically as well, with the volume growing 34 percent from 2002 to 2004 in the 17 states studied. Experts attribute a growing proportion of the nation's healthcare bill to overweight and obesity, reaching 9.1 percent of U.S. medical costs, or $78 billion, in the most recent study.

The first annual HealthGrades Bariatric Surgery Trends in American Hospitals Study found that:

  • Higher volume programs have better quality. Hospitals rated by HealthGrades with five stars for bariatric surgery had, on
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Contact: Scott Shapiro
sshapiro@healthgrades.com
720-963-6584
HealthGrades
13-Nov-2006


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