Frequently Asked Questions

What is Body Mass Index (BMI)? The BMI compares weight to height. When a person’s BMI is greater than 30, that person is considered obese. When a person’s BMI exceeds 40, that person is considered morbidly obese.

You can calculate your BMI here.


Does insurance cover the cost of my operation?  Your coverage for this type of surgery depends on your individual insurance company. You will need to call your insurance company and ask them if Weight Loss Surgery is a covered benefit. We will work with you to determine if they will cover your operation.

What are the requirements for your program? Candidates for Weight Loss Surgery should:

  • Have a BMI of 40 or a BMI of 35 with weight related health problem
  • Be age 18-65 years old 
  • Be aware of the expected life changes
  • Understand the surgery and its risks
  • ​​Plan to follow diet and exercise guidelines for the rest of your life

How long will I be in the hospital? You will come to the hospital on the day of your surgery and we will prepare you for your surgery. You will have general anesthesia for your procedure. You will stay in the recovery room until you are awake. The night of your surgery, you will be helped to sit up in a chair and walk. If your surgery is done laparoscopically, you will most likely go home in a day or two.

How will my diet change after surgery? Because your stomach is much smaller, you will be eating smaller amounts of food. You will eat smaller amounts of food, chewing them carefully and slowly. You will be required to take vitamins for the rest of your life. These must be a chewable or liquid. It will be important to avoid swallowing large pieces of food. You will need to drink plenty of water between meals

I would like to become a patient. What next?  The first step is to attend one of our free informational seminars. Our bariatric surgeon, Dr. Willie E. Harper, Jr. will present a program that will cover all the specifics of our program and the weight loss surgeries we offer. You will also have an opportunity to ask questions at that time.
To Register: Please call the St. Bernards Healthline at 870.207.7300.

Will my insurance cover surgery?
Every insurance policy is different. When you attend the seminar, we will answer all insurance questions and let you know your insurance benefits as well as any requirements. 

Why do I have to attend a seminar?
The Weight Loss Seminar is the first step in joining our Weight Loss Surgery Program. We want to make sure you understand what is required to be successful in your weight loss journey. By attending the seminar, all of your questions will be answered, and you can make an educated decision regarding your weight loss options. 

Can't make it to a seminar? We now offer you the chance to watch it below. After watching the seminar, if you want to learn more about bariatric surgery, please fill out the form here to be contacted.

To register, visit the online calendar or call the Bariatric Program Coordinator at 870.243.0531.


225 E Washington Ave.
Jonesboro, AR 72401