John Santilli is co-founder and president of Knowledge Source, Inc., a leading source of healthcare information and analyses since 1989. John's previous experience included 13 years at General Electric.
Walmart Joining the Employer Travel Surgery Movement
Deciding where to seek medical treatment may not only be a personal preference. Many employers are providing incentives to their personnel to encourage them to travel for medical treatments.
Traveling abroad for medical treatment has become an established practice, but the United States is experiencing an increasing growth of domestic and inbound medical tourism.
In domestic medical tourism, people are crossing state lines in search of better quality health care. This is most common with specialized surgical treatments and procedures in the realm of cardiology, oncology and orthopedics.
U.S. hospitals have made deals with major U.S. employers and are negotiating with other national companies on domestic medical travel.
Although it may be costly to pay for travel expenses, organizations find such savings in investing in preventative and what they perceive to be the very best healthcare options for their employees and their families that they find themselves utilizing the savings of decreased absences due to medical conditions to pay for the travel costs.
Walmart is introducing a first-of-its-kind Centers of Excellence program that will offer its associates quality health care with no out-of-pocket cost for heart, spine and transplant surgeries at six of the leading hospital and health systems in the United States.
The six designated health care organizations include the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio; Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa.; Mayo Clinic sites in Rochester, Minn., Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz., and Jacksonville, Fla.; Mercy Hospital Springfield in Springfield, Mo; Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple, Texas; and Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Wash.
The new Centers of Excellence program is being expanded from covering transplants, which began with the Mayo Clinic in 1996, to include treatment for certain heart and spine surgeries.
Walmart’s associates and their dependents who are enrolled in the company’s medical plans will receive consultations and care covered at 100 percent without deductible or coinsurance, plus travel, lodging and food for the patient and a caregiver.
In providing this service at no cost to its enrolled associates, Walmart has worked with these Centers of Excellence health systems to provide exclusive and unique bundled pricing arrangements for these types of procedures.
Through Centers of Excellence, Walmart is working with all the health care organizations to collectively share best practices that will allow collaboration around best measures of service and new industry findings in comparison to industry practices.