Six months after it struck a deal to have Cleveland Clinic doctors perform heart surgeries on its employees and their families, home improvement retailer Lowe’s calls early returns on the alliance a “home run.”
That’s because more Lowes’ employees have chosen the Clinic for cardiac surgery than the North Carolina-based retailer initially projected, according to spokeswoman Karen Cobb.
Since the agreement took effect in April, 17 Lowe’s employees or family members have had cardiac procedures done at the Clinic, with six more scheduled for surgery this year, and another six under review for possible surgeries, Cobb said.
Lowe’s officials initially said if 10 employees or family members had heart procedures done at the Clinic in first year of the agreement, the company would consider the deal a “home run,” she said. So far, one out of three Lowe’s employees or family members in need of “serious cardiac surgery” have chosen Cleveland Clinic, according to Cobb.
In March, Lowe’s and Cleveland Clinic announced the unusual deal in which Clinic doctors perform heart surgeries for a bundled payment. Lowe’s waives employees’ usual $500 deductible and other out-of-pocket costs and pays for their airfare, hotel and living expenses while in Cleveland, Hospital Review reported. Lowe’s employees seeking heart surgery aren’t required to get it from Cleveland Clinic.
For the Clinic, the deal was an opportunity to extend its out-of-state patient base, something that’s likely to become increasingly important to the health system over coming years as Northeast Ohio’s economy slides.
For Lowe’s, the alliance offered the opportunity to have employees treated at the No. 1 heart hospital in the country. Even though it’ll likely incur a high up-front cost for treatment, Lowe’s hopes the world-class care will reduce its employee heart care costs in the long-run.
“The basic Cleveland Clinic value proposition is higher quality — meaning, better outcomes for the patients, fewer re-operations, fewer complications — leads to lower, long-term cost,” said Michael McMillan, the Clinic’s executive director of market and network services, in a March interview with MedCity News. “If you’ve got to re-do an operation, you’re already in a much more expensive situation.”
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