Glitzy Weight Loss Surgery website connected to NON medical corporate backer
A new website, picturing several glitzy testimonials and singing the praises of Weight Loss Surgery was found at www. compasswls. com. Although this site has been removed, there are many websites like it, still up and still very misleading about weight loss surgery. Following is my research on the compass wls site which probably has a similar history as many other sites, still up.
This site appears to promise a one step insurance approval of bariatric surgery making things all the easier for eager patients seeking the elusive American dream of "never too rich, never too thin".
A photo on the home page of the site, pictures several formerly large ladies who have now apparently all trimmed down. One interesting tidbit I first noticed is the largest lady is the most forward in the before photo (making her appear larger than life) but in the after photo, she's mostly hidden behind a plant (a trick familiar to all persons of size which works well for hiding some of the bodily abundance in photographs)
Call me skeptic if you will but somehow, knowing what I do about the ineffectiveness and risk of most available WLS procedures (especially the VBG which at least one of the featured surgeons advocates - Dr Hall), I tended to wonder if this site had some corporate support behind it and was not, as it appeared, merely a 'help site' for poor ladies of size, yearning to become "slender".
I decided to trace the money trail which I knew there WAS one when I found on compasswls.com, a "fee referral form", i.e. a form you can fill out to get reimbursed when you refer a patient to this group.
Doing some detective work (and it wasn't real easy to trace but one of my good friends, a clever lady Marlow - referring to the books by Raymond Chandler in case you are not a detective novel buff - had taught me some tricks), I did trace the corporation backing and it was a bit of a mind blower:
www.compasswls.com is owned by Community Health Services of Tennessee which calls itself:
>>>>the largest non-urban provider of general hospital healthcare services in the United States in terms of number of acute care facilities and the second largest in terms of revenues.<<<<<
And recently announced it's second quarter profits which were not um... small:
>>>>Community Health Systems, Inc. (NYSE:CYH) today announced strong financial and operating results for the second quarter and six months ended June 30, 2002.
Net operating revenues for the second quarter ended June 30, 2002, totaled $530.6 million, a 32.3% increase compared with $400.9 million for the same period last year.<<<<<
Community Health Systems was organized in 1985 and it announced that:
>>>>> In 1996, our stock was purchased by Affiliates of Forstmann Little & Co.<<<<<<
Tracing Forstmann & Little - keep in mind this is the OWNER of Community Health Systems and thus the owner of www.compasswls.com - we get some more surprises, not all of them nice.
They are an investment company about which Hoovers ( www.hoovers.com ) writes:
>>>>>Don't let the "Little" fool you: buyout firm Forstmann Little & Co. has been home to some big names. The firm, which specializes in telecommunications, technology, education, and health care investments, counts among its former advisory board members Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, and George Shultz and Henry Kissinger. Since its founding in 1978, Forstmann Little has invested more than $10 billion in about 30 companies. It is led by the surviving founding group member, Ted Forstmann; Nicholas Forstmann died in 2001, and William Little died in 2000. Connecticut is suing Forstmann Little & Co. to recover state retirement money it claims the firm invested recklessly.<<<<<<
Additionally, it seems that Forstmann hired one of Ex President Clinton's cronies to run it in 1999 and this man, Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Erskine Bowles evidentally is claimed to have lost a lot of bucks in investing in a worldwide internet firm called "XO Communications". A republican website happily reprinted:
>>>>Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Erskine Bowles doesn’t want voters to know about his personal involvement in making risky investment decisions after being hired to “operate” the investment firm Forstmann Little – which led to the loss of $1.5 billion “almost overnight” for investors and even millions of a state’s pension fund which is now suing the firm. (New York Times, 2/24/02)<<<<<
Forstmann owns a nationwide radio network called Citadel communications:
( www.citadel.com or www.citadelradio.com )
and has interests in Gulfsteam Aerospace (makes corporation jets), General Instrument and Ziff-Davis Publishing.
Since the home page of www.forstmannlittle.com has been replaced with a blank HTML page, we cannot see without digging through non internet records, what the names of the other of the 30 companies, this investment firm has interests in, but they obviously have found out that WLS is the money band wagon to jump on.
Doesn't it give you a warm fuzzy feeling (NOT) knowing that such a large investment corporation as Forstmann & Little is looking to re-coup their billion dollar losses in the internet provider world, by entering a WLS venture...
PS: I had been to the Citadel radio site previously - they featured a while ago, a program advocating Weight Loss Surgery (how surprising!) :)
return the WLS info center