Episode 3 - Barriers in the Treatment of Obesity

Peter Salgo, MD, and the panelists discuss how barriers are currently affecting a physician’s decision to treat and manage obese patients despite the American Medical Association’s 2013 decision to recognize obesity as a disease.

Yehuda Handelsman, MD, FACP, FACE, FNLA, explains that although obesity is recognized as a disease, he is unable to properly manage his patients’ obesity because if he were to diagnose a patient for it, he would not be reimbursed. More than just metabolic issues, patients who are obese often have joint problems, breathing difficulties, and overall mobility problems that may require surgeries. Dr Handelsman further explains that physicians need to be able to manage patients in ways similar to how patients are managed for other chronic diseases.

Jeffrey D. Dunn, PharmD, MBA, adds that not every party will approach obesity in the same way. Dr Dunn explains that from a payer perspective, the focus on improving the management of obesity begins with leveling the playing field and establishing coordination between the different stakeholders.

Maria Lopes, MD, MS, discusses how physicians need access to better patient engagement resources and behavior modification tools. She adds that professionals need to gain access to resources that help them understand which treatment methods work and which ones don’t.

Dr Dunn concludes the discussion by explaining why the provider, patient, and payer need to work together to combat these issues and spread the risk.

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