NU Online News Service, March 9, 2004, 5:15 p.m. EST – First Health Group Corp., Downers Grove, Ill., has developed a provider network for fat surgery.[@@]

The surgeons in the network have agreed to perform bariatric surgery on morbidly obese patients for rates as much as 50% below their normal retail prices. Participating surgeons must perform the procedures at cost-effective hospitals and show that their patients have good outcomes, First Health says.

First Health is marketing the network to managed care companies, government-sponsored health plans and self-insured employer health plans.