Tennessee Blues eliminates IQ test from bariatric surgery screening

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Feb. 12, 2007

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After an outcry from a group for people with obesity, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has decided to drop a requirement that patients seeking bariatric surgery first undergo an IQ test.

The plan said it began last spring requiring IQ screenings as a way to determine what level of support a patient would need after undergoing bariatric surgery. A Florida-based group called the Obesity Action Coalition said in prepared statements that screening "perpetuated the negative stigma associated with obesity" and discriminated "against those affected by obesity wishing to access treatment." The group also appeared on cable news shows to decry the IQ test.

The plan said no one was ever turned down for surgery because of the IQ test. But it said the true intent of the policy was misunderstood, so it decided to drop the test. The coalition called the Blues' move "a step in the right direction."

The American Society for Bariatric Surgery reported that 177,600 weight-loss surgeries were performed in 2006, quadruple the number from 2000. In Tennessee, more than one-quarter of the population is considered obese.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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