Overland Park, KS – As the pandemic continues to yield scientific and clinical evidence about the coronavirus, Brad Freilich, M.D., board-certified gastroenterologist, is helping patients suffering from obesity and related conditions like hypertension and diabetes lower their risk of developing severe symptoms and complications if diagnosed with COVID-19. The Transforme Metabolic and Weight Management Program, offered by Dr. Freilich at the Kansas City Gastroenterology and Hepatology Physicians Group, is a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary program to help patients achieve long-term weight loss, thereby potentially reversing some of the effects of chronic health problems linked to obesity.

Dr. Freilich sites findings from the Northwell Health COVID-19 Research Consortium in New York, with support from the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, published in late April in the peer-reviewed medical journal JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association. The data described the clinical course and outcomes of 5,700 Northwell Health System patients hospitalized with COVID–19 – the largest hospitalized patient cohort to date in the United States – between March 1 and April 4.

“The study shows that 95 percent of patients under 65 who died from complications of COVID-19, 95 were overweight or obese and most had comorbidities like hypertension or diabetes,” says Dr. Freilich, who has advanced certification in obesity medicine, bariatric procedures and liver disease/hepatology. “According to the study, patients with diabetes were more likely to have received invasive mechanical ventilation, received treatment in the ICU or developed acute kidney disease.

“At a time when people feel like they’re not in control, our structured and medically supervised program, with a patient navigator at the heart of the service, is designed to improve health and help lower risk.”
New telehealth based weight loss program

The Transforme Metabolic and Weight Management Program is a resource for overweight and obese patients and those with chronic conditions, like cardiac diseases, diabetes, fatty liver disease, orthopedic issues and more, who need additional support losing weight. Primarily a convenient telehealth option, the program focuses on accountability, diet and nutrition, medication management, exercise, emotional health and working to break habits that have resulted in overeating.

“Today, more than ever, it’s important for individuals to maintain a healthy weight to obtain health benefits now and over a lifetime,” Dr. Freilich says. “Quarantine presents unique issues, with people stress eating and not being as active in their daily routines, which have been disrupted by the coronavirus. We know that obesity can lead to so many other health challenges. The multidisciplinary program – the first of its kind in the region – combines the critical components of weight loss.”

The Transforme Metabolic and Weight Management Program offers comprehensive weight evaluation, including lifestyle and behavioral factors, a personalized assessment and treatment plan created by a multi-disciplinary team, medication management, access to a 12-month interactive online program and more. Surgical weight-loss options are available for those patients who are candidates, including gastric balloon and endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty, among other procedures.

To find out more about Transforme Metabolic and Weight Management Program and the other bariatric services offered by HCA Midwest Health, email RHMC.transforme@hcahealthcare.com.