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