Background: Lower socioeconomic status and poor funding are thought to be associated with suboptimal outcome after bariatric surgery. We undertook this study to determine if funding status is a predictor of outcome in patients undergoing bariatric surgery.
Methods: The medical records of 131 consecutive patients who underwent vertical banded gastroplasty (VBG) for clinically severe obesity (BMI >40 kg/m2) were reviewed. Patients were divided into three groups based on insurance status: (1) commercially insured/traditional indemnity programs; (2) entitlement programs (Medicare), and (3) medically indigent (Medicaid or no funding). Data is mean +/- SD. Data was analyzed using ANOVA and Student t-test.
Results: The three groups had similar preoperative weight. Mean BMI was 39 +/- 13, 42 +/- 15, 41 +/- 11 at 1 year, and 40 +/- 13, 43 +/- 16, 45 +/- 16 at 2 years postoperatively for the insured, entitlement, and indigent groups, respectively.
Conclusion: After standard preoperative evaluation and screening, patients loss weight following VBG independent of insurance status. Source of funding should, therefore, not preclude patients from undergoing bariatric surgery. Patients with limited financial resources can expect similar outcomes as patients with commercial insurance.