GE will steer work­ers to North­west­ern Memo­rial for hip and knee surg­eries

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Bob Her­man

An agree­ment be­tween North­west­ern Memo­rial Hos­pi­tal in Chicago and one of the largest em­ploy­ers in the coun­try is yet another ex­am­ple that self-in­sured com­pa­nies want to work more di­rectly with high-qual­ity health sys­tems for cer­tain pro­ce­dures.

Gen­eral Elec­tric Co. has con­tracted with the hos­pi­tal to be one of GE’s four cen­ters of ex­cel­lence for to­tal hip and knee re­place­ment surg­eries. GE’s other des­ig­nated ortho­pe­dic cen­ters are Hos­pi­tal for Spe­cial Surgery in New York City, The Christ Hos­pi­tal in Cincin­nati and Caroli­nas Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Char­lotte, N.C.

The cen­ter-of-ex­cel­lence deals gen­er­ally work like this: Com­pa­nies reach out to providers that have high qual­ity rat­ings and deep ex­pe­ri­ence in a par­tic­u­lar ser­vice line. The two sides agree to a fixed price for a cer­tain pro­ce­dure. Com­pa­nies tell em­ploy­ees if they need that pro­ce­dure done, they can go to one of the des­ig­nated fa­cil­i­ties with no or min­i­mal out-of-pocket costs. In many in­stances, such as that be­tween GE and North­west­ern, the em­ployer also cov­ers travel costs for pa­tients.

Last year, Wal-Mart Stores and Lowe’s Cos. built sim­i­lar pro­grams for hip and knee surg­eries with four hos­pi­tals. The com­pa­nies also have heart and spine agree­ments with the Cleve­land Clinic and Mayo Clinic. GE has other provider-based cen­ters of ex­cel­lence for or­gan trans­plant, bariatric surgery and some types of can­cer care.

North­west­ern Memo­rial is one of sev­eral hos­pi­tals part­nered with GE.

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