Hospitals

Walmart and Emory Healthcare form ACO to serve retailer’s Atlanta employees

Since January 1, Walmart employees at 55 Walmart, Sam’s Club and Walmart Distribution Center locations in the metro-Atlanta area have been able to choose the Emory Accountable Care Plan as their primary health plan.

collaboration, partnership

In another healthcare move, retail giant Walmart has teamed up with Atlanta, Georgia-based Emory Healthcare to create an accountable care organization.

The ACO allows Walmart employees at 55 Walmart, Sam’s Club and Walmart Distribution Center locations in metro-Atlanta to choose the Emory Accountable Care Plan as their primary health plan. Workers can get care from the more than 2,000 physicians in the Emory network. Though they pay standard co-pays for primary care, specialists and urgent care visits, preventive care is free. Employees have been able to enroll since January 1.

Also effective January 1, Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital and Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center became included in Walmart’s national spine surgery and joint replacement surgery Centers of Excellence programs for employees who need spine or joint care.

Through the COE program (which is a bundled payment initiative), employees in a Walmart-sponsored plan don’t pay out-of-pocket costs for specific spine and joint replacement surgeries at EUOSH and Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center. Any travel costs to get to Emory are covered by Walmart.

“More and more large, self-insured employers like Walmart are looking for new and creative solutions as a potential way to decrease costs of healthcare plans for employees, while improving the overall quality of the care,” Emory Healthcare Network CEO Patrick Hammond said in a news release. “This partnership is a win-win for everyone involved.”

The announcement comes in the midst of other healthcare-related news from Walmart.

Last month, a Wall Street Journal report noted the retail company is in talks to acquire Humana. But only time will tell whether regulators are OK with retail-insurer deals like it and the one between CVS and Aetna.

Additionally, CNBC reported earlier this month that Walmart wants to buy PillPack, a startup that hopes to disrupt the pharmacy sector. Founded in 2013, it pre-sorts and packages prescriptions, vitamins and over the counter drugs and delivers them to consumers.

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