Bellevue Hospital in New York has continuously cut corners over the last three years to hustle patients through bariatric surgery, an $11,000 procedure mainly footed by taxpayers since most of Bellevue's patients are uninsured or on Medicaid, reports the New York Times.
The hospital stands to earn at least $34 million alone this year from performing nearly 3,000 weight-loss surgeries.
The procedure, which makes changes to the digestive system to help patients lose weight, requires long-term changes to the patient's lifestyle. The approval process is lengthy but not at Bellevue, according to a Times investigation that found that doctors sped patients through the system to get them onto the operating table.
"It's all about the numbers," Dr. Carmen Kloer, who worked with Bellevue's bariatric department as a medical resident before quitting in October, told the Times. "They are just churning through cases."
A manager in 2021 wrote that two female bariatric surgeons "involve their residents in a well-known daily race."
Six other employees said they knew about the race.
Other concessions were made to get more surgeries done, including doctors asking equipment technicians to scrub in on surgeries and pushing anesthesiologists to wake patients up earlier, reports the Times.
Equipment techs are not licensed to treat patients.
Earlier this year, a pregnant woman was operated on for weight-loss surgery. Bellevue's staff forgot to check her pregnancy test before surgery, according to four employees, the Times reported.
Christopher Miller, a spokesman for Bellevue, praised the program to the Times and denied some of the claims made by employees.
"There's an incredible need and demand for this surgery," he said. citing a report this year from the American College of Surgeons that praised the hospital for running "a very high-volume program without sacrificing quality." The review was based largely on data provided by Bellevue.
Solange Reyner ✉
Solange Reyner is a writer and editor for Newsmax. She has more than 15 years in the journalism industry reporting and covering news, sports and politics.
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