Recent reports indicate that obesity and its related conditions are costing $40 billion to Medicare and Medicaid programs in the United States. Obesity-related conditions often include high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar/diabetes, abnormal cholesterol levels, sores, ulcers, arthrtitis, chronic pain, sleep disorders and depression.
People are considered ovese if they have a BMI of 30 or higher and morbidly obese with a BMI of 40 or higher. According to a recent report by Frost and Sullivan, the number of people with a BMI of 40 or greater have quadrupled between 1986 and 2000, shifting from approximately 1 in 200 adults to 1 in 50. In addition to the number of people classified as morbidly obese rising, so has the number of those classified as “clinically obese,” from one in 10 to now one in five.
Manufacturers are having to change the weight capacities of their products. Products with a weight capacity of 350 pounds used to be most prevalant, but now products with weight capacities between 750 and 1,000 pounds are more common.
Growth in sales of bariatric products has increased more than 10 percent annually, according to Frost and Sullivan. Frost and Sullivan’s report indicates that market revenues for the bariatric specialty bed and support surface market in the United States generated more than $170 million and are anticipated to reach $522 million by year 2012.
Tips For Bariatric Provider
Keep stock of the fastest movers often wheelchairs and rollators, and items that someone might need right away if they were discharged from a hospital or nursing home (commodes, bath benches, crutches, etc.)
Many manufacturers offer marketing kits for providers, Web site materials, catalogs and educational information for consumers.
Generally consumers are not aware of all the bariatric options available today. They are not often displayed prominently in the showroom of an HME provider, and the referral sources are not as familiar with the availability of these products as they are the standard versions. Savvy providers are doing more to let their referral sources know about the availability of bariatric products across the spectrum.