Recently, doctors at University Medical Center have been telling potential patients about a new weight loss program.

So many people are interested in this new opportunity, that Wednesday's class filled up instantly, but the new clinic will have future classes that you can go to.

For years, Weight Loss Wednesday has highlighted the many success stories with bariatric surgery. Studies show surgery to make the stomach smaller, and alter hunger hormones, is more effective for long-term weight loss and health than diet and exercise alone.

However, for people in Louisiana who could not afford the more than $20,000 price tag, or whose private insurance would not pay, this often life-saving procedure was off limits. Now, for the first time, it's available for people with Medicaid.

"I really believe we're going to change the health care landscape in Louisiana by offering this service to this patient population," said Dr. Christopher DuCoin, Director of Bariatric Surgery at UMC and Chief of Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery at Tulane.

July 1, University Medical Center will open the only clinic in the state for weight loss surgery for Medicaid patients. Tulane and LSUHSC doctors, dietitians, psychologists and coordinators will form the medical team. Louisiana has one of the highest obesity rates in the U.S. It's more than 35 percent.

Already more than 600 people are waiting for the doors of the new clinic and operating room to open.

"It's amazing. There's literally nothing that weight loss surgery doesn't help," Dr. DuCoin added.

Dozens of health problems from heart disease, diabetes, strokes, sleep apnea, arthritis, and asthma improve. One-third of all cancers are associated with the inflammation from obesity. Health care cost go down as people get off of medications for chronic illness.

"At 26 months after the procedure, every month of their life, after that time period, is dollars saved in the health care system," Dr. DuCoin explained.

And lives are saved, as people live longer and better.

The program at UMC can also advocate for people who have private insurance, that won't pay for the surgery.

Free Seminar Dates through the end of 2018 are below:

(Seminars are for those ages 18 and older)

◦Wednesday, June 13 @ 5:30-6:30
◦Wednesday, June 20 @ 5:30-6:30
◦Wednesday, June 27 @ 5:30-6:30

◦Thursday, July 12 @ 5:30-6:30
◦Thursday, August 9 @ 5:30-6:30
◦Thursday, September 13 @ 5:30-6:30
◦Thursday, October 11 @ 5:30-6:30
◦Thursday, November 8 @ 5:30-6:30
◦Thursday, December 13 @ 5:30-6:30


Phone Number: (504) 962-6262

For more information, click here

To register for future seminars, click here