“Nationally, most multidisciplinary pediatric obesity clinics bill for their services, but they're not able to sustain themselves just off billable service,” he said. “They have to have community support or some type of institutional support.”
For example, last year, Chesapeake Energy provided the clinic with a startup grant. The pediatrics department at OU Physicians has also helped with the clinic.
The Oklahoma Health Care Authority has worked with the staff to better ensure that they could be reimbursed through Medicaid. Private insurance companies have not been as easy to work with, Weedn said.
Weedn said the clinic has found a sustainable model so far and will continue for the next year. The clinic's operating budget for its first year was $102,000, less than the average yearly salary of a pediatrician.
The clinic has created different community partnerships that help with some of the cost. For example, the grocery store company Homeland has a dietitian on its staff that gives the clinic's families tours of its stores, talking with them about nutrition.
“They may not be able to give us a chunk for operational costs at the clinic,” Weedn said. “But they're providing resources that are benefiting our families and the clinic.”