Novation Bariatric Report Demonstrates Caring for Obese Patients Continues to Present Challenges for America's Hospitals

61 Percent of Hospitals Saw Increase in Admissions

Jun 10, 2010, 09:00 ET from Novation

IRVING, Texas, June 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Novation, the leading health care supply contracting company, today released its 2010 Bariatric Report, a nationwide survey of VHA Inc. and University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) member hospitals. The results confirm that caring for this patient population continues to be challenging for hospitals and health care providers, especially as they deal with increasing demands, lower reimbursements and an increased focus on quality in light of health care reform.

More than 48 percent of the respondents saw an increase in admissions of morbidly obese patients since 2008, while 13 percent saw a significant increase.  

"While hospitals are already struggling to do more with less, they have also continued to see a rise in admissions of obese patients and treatment costs," said Cathy Denning, vice president, sourcing operations at Novation.  "Hospitals have to take a deeper look into their program, facility and supply spends to make sure they are focusing their efforts on continuing to provide quality care while also keeping costs down."

Key Findings:

  • According to the Novation report, the top three products that accounted for the highest total cost or the greatest increase in spending at respondents' facilities were beds, patient lifts and durable medical equipment, such as wheelchairs and walkers.  The cost of these supplies is significantly more compared to standard supplies with bariatric beds costing more than $20,000 more and bariatric wheelchairs costing almost seven times as much.
  • When asked about outpatient programs for obese patients, 64 percent indicated they have a fitness program and 61 percent said they have a weight loss program. New this year, the survey asked about special meals/supplements, 53 percent said their facility also provided special meals/supplements for these patients.
  • 87 percent of the respondents indicated that their emergency rooms (ERs) were equipped to handle this patient population, while 81 percent indicated that stretchers were available for use in the emergency room (ER). Other bariatric equipment that is available for exclusive use in the ER include: transfer devices (67 percent), durable medical equipment (65 percent), lifts (64 percent), and beds (48 percent).
  • While the industry has seen an overall decrease in spending on renovations and building improvements due to the still recovering economy, the survey showed the most often cited renovations of facilities that were making to accommodate obese patients included: wider door opening, higher load steel toilets, seating for patients and families, open showers and creating esthetically pleasing environments.
  • Additionally, training for staff remained a top priority, with more than 80 percent indicating that they offer some kind of training. The types of training most often cited include: lifting and handling, ergonomics, and sensitivity training.

"As in previous bariatric reports, the 2010 report supports the trend that treating obese patients continues to be a challenge for hospitals and health care professionals," said Denning. "Currently, Novation offers a complete portfolio of the most widely used bariatric products in its bariatric portfolio to support member hospitals."

Obesity is a leading preventable cause of death worldwide and, with increasing prevalence in adults and children, authorities view it as one of the most serious public health problems of the 21st century. Morbid obesity is diagnosed by determining Body Mass Index (BMI) with normal BMI ranging from 20-25. An individual is considered morbidly obese if they are 100 pounds over their ideal body weight, has a BMI of 40 or more, or is 35 or older and experiencing obesity-related health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

To view the complete survey, please go to

About Novation

Founded in 1998, Novation is the leading health care supply contracting company for more than 25,000 members of VHA Inc. and the University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC), two national health care alliances, and 5,500 members of Provista, LLC, representing 28,000 sites. Novation provides alliance members contract and price management and spend management services. Based in Irving, Texas, Novation develops and manages competitive contracts with more than 600 suppliers. VHA, UHC and Provista members used Novation contracts to purchased nearly $37.8 billion in 2009.

For more information, please contact:

Kathryn Goldstein

Director, Public Relations

(972) 581-5529

SOURCE Novation