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Walmart expands employee healthcare to cover spine, transplant surgery

BY Gail Hoffer

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart has launched 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.

"We devoted extensive time developing Centers of Excellence in order to improve the quality of care our associates’ receive," said Sally Welborn, SVP global benefits at Walmart. "We have identified six renowned health care systems that meet the highest quality standards for heart, spine and transplant surgery. Through these hospital systems, our associates will have no out-of-pocket expenses and a greater peace of mind knowing they are receiving exceptional care from a facility that specializes in the procedure they require.  This is the first time a retailer has offered a comprehensive, nationwide program for heart, spine and transplant surgery."

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.

 

 

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E-prescribing: Patients want it

BY Antoinette Alexander

When given a choice, patients prefer to receive an electronic prescription if they receive a prescription from their physician, according to the most recent Patient Views infographic. To be specific, 64% of respondents said they would choose an e-prescription when provided an option, according to an exclusive survey of nearly 800 patients conducted by AccentHealth and DSN in late July and early August. How many patients are actually given a choice as to how they receive their prescription, and how many currently are receiving electronic prescriptions? Currently, only 36% of patients said they are given a choice as to how they receive their prescription.

To see more Patient Views, click here.

Patient Views is a new, exclusive consumer insights feature that will be appear in every edition of DSN magazine and the daily e-newsletter DSN A.M. If you could ask 4,000 patients anything at all, what would it be? Send your questions to [email protected].

Do you prefer receiving electronic prescriptions over handwritten ones?

Source: AccentHealth. To view the methodology, click here.

 

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Study: Health insurance managed lives grew by 13 million from Jan. 2011 to June 2012

BY Alaric DeArment

BENSALEM, Pa. — Thirteen million more Americans had health insurance in June 2012 than 18 months earlier, according to a new report by BusinessOne Technologies, a healthcare technology and data company.

The report, titled "Managed Lives Trends in the Current Health Care Reform Environment," found that the 5.4% increase in total coverage between January 2011 and June 2012 was due in part to healthcare-reform measures that are increasing access ahead of the planned 2014 rollout of the healthcare-reform law’s individual mandate.

The measures include coverage of dependent children and adults up to the age of 26 years, tax credits for small businesses and early Medicaid expansion in some states. According to the report, Medicare coverage grew by 12%, while Managed Medicaid grew by 10.4% and commercial insurance grew by 5%. Commercial insurance saw the largest increase in the number of insured individuals, which was up by 7.6 million.


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