For South Carolinians who did not get chosen in recent “Biggest Loser” auditions held in Columbia, there’s another alternative for getting help with obesity. The State Budget and Control Board, at the recommendation of the legislature, has OK’d 100 gastric bypass or lap band surgeries for eligible state employees. Their hope is that the weight loss measures will save the state in the long-run from having to pay for the medical side effects of obesity.
The state health plan will spend $2.4 million on the surgeries. South Carolina’s obesity rates for adults and children is higher than the national averages.
The state will screen the patients who ask for the surgeries — and then monitor the patients after the surgery is performed to track cost savings. The weight-loss procedures will be granted based on a series of criteria including body mass index and psychological stability.
The budget and control board oversees spending changes to the state health plan.