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In this model, the primary care practice identifies the weight issue and refers out to other programs in the community or associated hospital. We are not providing information on this website about this option because we are focused on how primary care practices can provide weight management directly to patients by providing services in their own practices.
It is indeed common for referral out for bariatric surgery or to a hospital-based program for weight loss in addition to the models discussed here. We have often found, however, that unless there is accountability, patients do not take steps to engage with a program and then do not make progress with weight management on their own. For practices that have care managers, a system could be developed to follow up on referrals and at least do brief check-ins over the phone with patients to see if they are continuing care through that referral.
Obesity is a chronic disease. It is also a genetic disease [and] should not be stigmatized. Obesity should be treated just like any other chronic disease with a regimen for a lifetime. If you cannot manage obesity, then refer the patient for proper care to those who can manage it. This is the only way we can stop this epidemic.