Why 1 GI practice is considering offering mental health care

As the popularity of prescription weight loss medications, including glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists like Ozempic, continues to grow, the discussions around obesity care in the U.S. have started to shift. 

Specialty practices, including gastroenterology practices, are taking steps to invest in weight loss care and management in ways they never have before, from adding new services to adding new types of practitioners. 

Omar Khokhar, MD, a gastroenterologist at Illinois GastroHealth in Bloomington, told Becker's that his practice is even considering investing in mental health specialists to improve obesity care for patients. 

"The management approach to the obesity epidemic is rapidly evolving. We have a multi-pronged approach: appropriate referral to bariatric surgery, medications and ancillary support. To that end, we are actively looking at the possibilities of an embedded dietician and psychologist into our practice," Dr. Khokhar told Becker's. "Pharmacologic therapy will play a key role, as did medications for the hepatitis C virus epidemic about 20 years ago. The next decade will be very exciting and hopefully better health for our patients."

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