Wal-Mart expanding program for no-cost employee surgeries

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Wal-Mart announced this week that it will expand a program that ends out-of-pocket procedure and travel costs for employees seeking some heart and spine surgeries if they go to hospitals across the country that have agreements with the retailer.

Reuters: Wal-Mart To Pay For Heart And Spine Surgery For U.S. Employees
Wal-Mart Stores Inc is offering its U.S. employees and their families free heart and spine surgeries at six major health centers at no cost to the retailer's workers, as it tries to find better ways to cover costly, complicated procedures. Starting in January, workers and dependents enrolled in Wal-Mart's medical plans will receive free consultations and care for certain heart and spinal procedures along with travel, lodging and food for the patient and a caregiver (Wohl, 10/11).

Cleveland Plain-Dealer: Wal-Mart To Send Employees To Cleveland Clinic For Heart Care
As the cost of medical care continues to rise across the country, the nation's largest employer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., is hoping to turn the tide by seeking out the best medical deals for its workforce across the country. And for heart care, many of their employees will be headed to the Cleveland Clinic (Zeltner, 10/12). 

The Dallas Morning News: Wal-Mart Turing To Medical Tourism To Lower Employee Health Costs
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation's largest employer, will jump into medical tourism next year by offering insured employees no-cost heart and spine surgeries at Temple's Scott & White Memorial and seven other hospitals across the country. Health care cost pressures are pushing companies toward narrowing the number of physicians and hospitals covered by their insurance policies. Since 1996, for example, Wal-Mart has urged employees and their dependents to use the Mayo Clinic's three hospitals for organ transplants (Landers, 10/11).

Modern Healthcare: Walmart Expands Program For Workers' Out-Of-Pocket Costs
Walmart said it would expand a program that eliminates out-of-pocket costs and covers travel expenses for its workers who seek care at certain hospitals. Walmart, which first launched the program in 1996 for transplant surgery, said it expanded the effort to include certain heart and spine surgeries. "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," the company said in a news release. Mayo Clinic locations in Rochester, Minn., Scottsdale, Ariz., Phoenix and Jacksonville, Fla., will offer transplants under the program (Evans, 10/11).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.



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