What does Lowes, Walmart and Medical Tourism have in common? A prediction by Dr. “C” is coming true.

Entrance to Wal-Mart Store

What does Lowes, Walmart and Medical Tourism have in common? A prediction by Dr. “C” is coming true.

Medical tourism is when you go elsewhere in the country or perhaps, to another country to have a medical procedure done. In some countries and in some states, procedures can differ in price by 700 percent or more. An earlier blog post suggested the idea that insurance companies should sponsor medical tourism to save on costs, using the outsourcing model to create competition in the medical monopoly we have in the USA which is partly responsible for the high cost of Medical procedures (http://www.backfixer1.com/blog/can-the-worlds-economy-be-used-to-lower-the-cost-of-popular-medical-procedures-check-out-this-idea-for-a-new-cost-lowering-model/).

It looks like companies like Walmart and Lowes either read our blog or finally figured out that they can better control costs by thinking outside the box, or perhaps the state you are in or perhaps, the US of A. It was only a matter of time until they figured out that outsourcing worked to reduce manufacturing costs, why not ship the patient over somewhere where the care is excellent (and in many countries, it is much better than people often believe) and the prices a sensible.

Check this out

Wal-Mart, Lowes use “corporate-sponsored medical tourisim” to manage surgery bills

February 9, 2014 9:35 am by

Beginning this year, employees in need of a knee or hip replacement with health coverage at a Wal-Mart or a Lowe’s didn’t have to choose surgery at their local hospital.

 

Instead, they can travel to four medical centers in Baltimore, Seattle, Irvine, Calif., or Springfield, Mo., sites selected for the Employers Centers of Excellence Network.

What’s more, the worker doesn’t pay any out-of-pocket costs for the medical treatment and the trip, including a caregiver required to go too.

If employees choose to get hip or knee surgery closer to home and outside of the network, they’ll be responsible for the normal health insurance deductibles and co-payments that can amount to several thousand dollars.

Spurred by ever higher health care bills, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Lowe’s Co. Inc. are leading examples of companies taking action to wring higher quality and lower costs form the health care system.

They also want to change to the way payments traditionally are made to doctors, hospitals and other providers. The participating medical centers agree to a fixed fee or “bundled payment” for all the care, instead of the traditional, open-ended separate fees for services rendered.

This corporate-sponsored form of medical tourism and pay reform is meant to send messages about the kinds of changes businesses want to see from health care providers.

“I have to tell you that Wal-Mart, for example, they are not saving big bucks on this program,” said Olivia Ross, senior manager with the Pacific Business Group on Health in San Francisco. PBGH is a nonprofit overseeing development of the Employers Center of Excellence Network.

“But what they do see is this is a chance for them to have an influence, which could over the long term have savings,” Ross said.

Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc., with 2.2 million employees in the United States, including 6,000 in Greater Memphis, launched a similar program last year for heart, spine and transplant surgeries, expanding a transplant tie with the Mayo Clinic since 1996. North Carolina-based Lowe’s, with about 245,000 employees, has offered trips to the Cleveland Clinic for heart surgeries since 2010.

It’s not clear how many Wal-Mart and Lowe’s workers have made use of the medical programs. Neither company divulged numbers. Various estimates by analysts range from dozens of users each year to thousands.
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