Our Bariatric & General Surgery Blog
I’m pleased to announce that this year, NYU Langone Health received two prestigious awards from The Leapfrog Group that speak to our unwavering commitment to improving quality and safety in healthcare, even in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic. The Leapfrog Group is a leading national nonprofit that assesses the quality and safety of hospitals across the country based on available health data.
We are honored to be nominated and ask for your support and votes!
Voting runs until December 15th
When we first began talking with NYU Langone Hospital—Long Island about joining forces, we knew we had found a likeminded potential partner. We share a commitment to the highest quality patient care, a deeply rooted dedication to serving our communities, and exceptional people who bring those values to life through their work and the care they provide every day. Today I am very pleased to announce that going forward, NYU Winthrop will be known as NYU Langone Hospital—Long Island, solidifying the journey our institutions have taken together in collaborating to bring our communities the best in world-class healthcare.
Staggering Facts of Obesity and Bariatric Surgery
As we progress into the next decade, the prevalence of obesity has reached epidemic levels. Current trends estimate that 35% of adults in the United States are obese. This trend continues is estimated to reach 50% by 2030! Now more than ever, let’s review the facts of obesity and bariatric surgery
With the associated comorbidities, healthcare costs will continue to skyrocket. In the United States, one in seven healthcare dollars is spent treating diabetes and its complications. Furthermore, over 4100 people every day are newly diagnosed with diabetes. This translates to 1.5 million new diagnoses of diabetes each year!
As the leaves on the trees are changing color, and the kids are getting back into the swing of the new and altered school year, there is one thing that remains constant. The risk of contracting the flu remains the same. Corona virus does not change that flu season is upon us and time for immunization is now. We are fortunate to have a vaccine against a disease that is prevalent in the populations most at risk, which are the very young and very old, and those with multiple comorbid conditions like Diabetes, Hypertension, COPD, Morbid Obesity. These also include the immunosuppressed as well. While we are now more aware than ever about hand washing and covering our coughs, not all are wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. The possibility and probability of spreading the influenza virus is still likely unless you are isolating at home.
Covid-19 and influenza often present with similar symptoms, and a diagnosis is difficult without diagnostic testing. The problem is, that with the testing, you must expose others to the virus in order to get tested. Please be mindful that if and when you do experience symptoms of the flu, like fever greater than 100, or body aches, that you are isolating from others in your home to ensure that you do not spread your virus. Similarly, when you do go to the doctor’s office or even to the ER, please make sure that the staff is made aware of your symptoms in advance so that you can be properly isolated to keep the virus from spreading throughout the office or ER.
Remember that patients with COPD, Asthma, Morbid Obesity and Diabetes are at higher risk for complications associated with the Flu and Covid-19. Currently there is no vaccine for Covid, but there is for the flu, so please make time to go out and get the flu shot as soon as you can. Avoid getting a life threatening virus that can be mistaken for Covid-19.
While data and news reports show that Black and Hispanic communities are disproportionately affected by the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the role that neighborhood income plays in COVID-19 deaths is less clear. New analyses by a team of researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine examine the interplay between race and ethnicity and income on COVID-19 cases and related deaths in 10 major U.S. cities. The researchers found that non-white counties had higher cumulative incidences and deaths compared with predominantly white counties—and this was true for both low-income and high-income communities.
The findings—recently published online in JAMA Network Open—suggest that racial disparities in COVID-19 cases and deaths exist beyond what can be explained by differences in poverty rates. The researchers found that even among communities with higher median income, predominantly non-white communities still bore a greater burden of the virus—almost three times the incidence and deaths—compared with neighborhoods that identified as majority white. Yet income also plays an important contributing role. Indeed, the starkest racial and ethnic contrast between majority non-white and predominantly white counties was found when restricted to low-income counties only, where residents from predominantly non-white communities died from COVID-19 at nine times the rate as those living in predominantly white counties.
“While we expected to see greater numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths in predominantly non-white, low-income communities, we were surprised that this relationship still held even after we accounted for poverty rates,” says Samrachana Adhikari, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone Health and lead author of the study. “Given our findings, we believe that structural racism may explain these racial disparities in number of cases and deaths noted in Black counties.”
How the Study Was Conducted
Using publicly available data from the 2018 U.S. Census Small Areas Income and Poverty Estimates program, the Centers for Disease Control, and state health departments, the researchers examined cumulative COVID-19 cases and deaths per 100,000 across 158 urban counties (accounting for 64 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases) spanning 10 large U.S. cities: New York City, Boston, New Orleans, Detroit, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Seattle. Using the census data, the team linked median income and proportion of non-white residents in each county and used statistical analysis to identify differences in cumulative incidents and death, and their association with neighborhood race and ethnicity and poverty levels. All data analyzed included COVID-19 cases and deaths observed through May 10, 2020.
“We have known for decades that racism kills. Racism is a public health issue which has been implicated in the racial gap in mortality and in health outcomes,” says Gbenga Ogedegbe, MD, MPH, the Dr. Adolph and Margaret Berger Professor of Medicine and Population Health at NYU Langone and one of the study’s co-authors.
“Because the differences in COVID-19 cases and mortality cannot be explained by poverty alone, our findings give credence to our hypothesis that structural racism underlies the disproportionately higher rates of COVID-19 infections and alarmingly high rates of deaths in predominantly Black communities. The fact that non-white residents died from the virus at higher rates than white residents in both wealthier and poorer communities should be a major alarm bell to policymakers at the national and local government levels, academic medical centers, and the country at large,” says Dr. Ogedegbe.
One of the study’s limitations, according to Dr. Adhikari, is that it covers only large metropolitan areas and that the data analyzed are aggregated at the county level. More granular data at the individual level, as well as a breakdown of residents by race and ethnicity, would provide greater insight into the drivers of this troubling association, as well as expose most affected neighborhoods in need of more robust public health interventions, says Dr. Adhikari.
In addition to Dr. Adhikari and Dr. Ogedegbe, additional co-authors from NYU Langone Health are senior author Andrea B. Troxel, ScD; Lorna E. Thorpe, PhD, MPH; Justin Feldman, ScD; and Nicholas Pantaleo. Dr. Adhikari is funded by the National Institutes of Health and Johnson & Johnson.
Also Requests Expanded Coverage of Behavioral Therapy
Washington, D.C. — July 9, 2020 U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Thomas Carper (D-Del.) are calling on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to lift regulations that deny insurance coverage for obesity drugs and that limit coverage of Intensive Behavioral Therapy (IBT) amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter sent to CMS Administrator Seema Verma in early July, the senators request the agency use its administrative authority to update a nearly two-decade-old statute in the Medicare Part D prescription drug program that specifically excludes obesity drugs from Medicare coverage.
Two of the most common comorbidities, or obesity related diseases, that we come across in our patients are type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Most of our patients will have been managing these conditions using drug therapy for years before considering surgery as a more permanent, curative solution. When we discuss the benefits of bariatric surgery, we often point out the fact that money can be saved in the form of reduced or eliminated drug therapy. And while every patient will experience different improvement and resolution rates, we have some recent research, presented at the ASMBS National Clinical Symposium on Obesity Prevention Treatment and Research in June 2019, that helps quantify the benefit.
NYU NYU Langone Long Island Surgical Associates is proud to welcome Dr. Venkata Kella as our newest bariatric surgeon. Dr. Kella is board certified in general surgery, specializes in bariatric surgery, and brings with him an impressive list of credentials and experience that will undoubtedly build upon our dedication to the most effective bariatric procedures and the very best patient care.
Michele Lubin, MS, RD, CDN
The holiday season is quickly approaching. It starts with those Halloween “fun size” candy bar temptations, continues with the Thanksgiving Feast, carries on with the office and house parties through December, entices us with the cakes and cookies brought into the office, and ends with a New Year’s Eve celebration. What a season — you spend a seemingly enjoyable time stressed out instead of having some fun. You stress about so many things: What am I going to eat? What will I tolerate well? Will they serve healthy options? Will I gain weight? Will I have time to exercise? How will I ever reach my goals with all of this tempting food surrounding me at all times?