Weighing down the healthcare system

Fat people are big business for hospitals. So they are upgrading their facilities to accommodate them. From Reuters:

When these patients check into a hospital, they are increasingly likely to find themselves in a room with a wider doorway than the 42-inch standard, a bed that holds up to 1,000 pounds and a ceiling lift system to move them to the bathroom.

Toilets in such a room are extra-sturdy and mounted to the floor instead of a wall.

San Francisco's Laguna Honda Hospital, which with 1,000 beds is the largest U.S. long-term care facility, is building 24 new bariatric rooms designed with ceiling lifts that can route patients to extra-sturdy toilets.

"We are planning for the future, for this burgeoning obesity epidemic nationally," said Associate Administrator Lawrence Funk. "We would be remiss if we did not."

Laguna hopes the investment will pay off with a reduction in staff injuries, which are common when medical staff deal with the obese population without special equipment, Funk said.

Besides the boost in business, hospitals that specialize in bariatrics also benefit because government and private insurers are more likely to cover the procedures at attractive reimbursement rates.

This is so out of control. And we all get to pay for it. I am happy to see that there is so much effort now to educate kids about nutrition and exercise, but for so many people, it is too late for these preventative measures. For decades to come, we are going to have to deal with all of the medical problems and costs of obesity. I don't know how the healthcare system is going to cope with it.

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One response to “Weighing down the healthcare system

  1. Yes, that is such a horrible problem. I work in health care and it is having a huge impact on the industry. There has been a rise in work related injuries due to transfering patients. I am glad to hear more hospitals are trying to help accomodate patients. It not only benefits the patients, but the people who work with them as well.

    I’m also glad that there is a lot of effort out there to educate children about nutrition and exercise, but unfortunately it’s probably not going to be enough. On the other hand, it’s difficult for obese adults and children to break their habits and the cyclic nature of their disease. People are often rude and mean to them and it only adds to the problem.

    I hope that the future hospitals and the health care system will not only accomodate for their physical limitations, but take into account the person as whole (body and mind.)

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