Health care costs in the United States continues to rise. In fact, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency tasked with running these assistance programs, anticipates that health care costs will rise about 5.5 percent per year through 2026. Finding ways to help curtail these rising costs is crucial for not just individuals, but companies and insurers. There are plenty of potential solutions, but some companies, like Walmart, are finding the answer and it could lead to other aspects of long-term care, such as in home support services.
Currently, Walmart has now identified 12 medical organizations, which they refer to as Centers of Excellence across the country and works out a deal with each of them to provide the highest level of direct medical care for certain employees, and the company pays a flat rate; the employee has to pay nothing out of pocket.
The reasoning is simple: when employees are able to get healthy and return to work faster, it’s a benefit to not just that individual, but the company overall. In order for an employee to qualify for this benefit, he or she needs to be full-time, working more than 30 hours per week, and take part in the company offered medical coverage program.
When people are tossed around from one doctor or clinic or hospital to the next, quality of care often suffers. Chris Tomlinson wrote, in the news article Finally squeezing the waste, fraud and abuse out of health care, published by the Houston Chronicle:
“Knowing Walmart’s reputation for wringing every penny possible out of vendors, I have to ask how this approach is more economical for Walmart, which is self-insured, than requiring patients to see in-network doctors close to home?
The answer, of course, is the enormous amount of fraud, waste and abuse in the American health care system. Negotiating low-cost package deals with the best medical centers is cheaper than relying on haphazard coordination between local doctors.”
So, what does this have to do with in home care support? At the moment, perhaps little, but as the home care sector is becoming a more integral part of overall health care for millions of people, this kind of model could provide opportunities for these same people benefiting from Walmart’s approach to receive valuable support services at home while they recover. That could continue to reduce costs and improve outcomes across the board.
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