Hip and knee replacement procedures will be covered with no cost-sharing for employees of Wal-Mart and Lowe's—but only if those procedures take place in select facilities that have met specific evidence-based quality goals, according to a recent story from ModernHealthcare.com.
The program, which will be offered by several companies besides the retail and home improvement giants, would still allow employees to receive care at a provider of their choice with regular cost-sharing in place. However, if the employee chooses to undergo the procedure at 1 of 4 participating hospitals, all costs for consultation, care, travel, lodging, and living expenses for the patient and a caregiver will be fully covered. The 4 so-called "designated center of excellence health care organizations" are Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, Orange County-Irvine Medical Center in California, Mercy Hospital Springfield in Missouri, and the Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle.
The article reports that the hospitals were selected by way of quality criteria developed by the Negotiating Alliance of The Pacific Business Group on Health. In a press release from Wal-Mart, the retailer's senior vice president of global benefits is quoted as saying that "each of these providers has a proven record of practicing evidence-based medicine with above-average positive patient outcomes in knee and hip replacement procedures." Selection decisions were made with an eye toward hospitals that produced consistent outcomes, and reported low rates of complications and repeat operations.
APTA advocates for the important role physical therapists play in effective care for knee and hip replacement patients, and, through its patient-focused Move Forward website, offers a range of resources designed to help patients better understand the procedures and the ways a physical therapist can speed recovery.
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