Employee Benefits

Care-coordination firm Grand Rounds embraces larger role with Walmart

Starting in 2020, the Arkansas-based retailer will be testing a range of technology-based strategies to match employees with the best medical providers, manage chronic illnesses and find other help related to their health needs.

Walmart is deepening its relationship with San Francisco-based Grand Rounds as part of its latest efforts to lower costs and improve care for the employees on its health plans.

Starting in 2020, the Arkansas-based retailer will be testing a range of technology-based strategies to match employees with the best medical providers, manage chronic illnesses and find other help related to their health needs.

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Grand Rounds, which already has a relationship with Walmart, will play a role in several of those strategies. Founded in 2011, Grand Rounds uses data and algorithms to match employees with caregivers and health-related services. It serves about 120 employers, including Comcast and Home Depot, and has roughly 4.5 million members.

“We’re thrilled to be expanding services further with Walmart,” Danielle Snow, senior vice president of patient care for Grand Rounds, wrote in an email.

Those services include a personal healthcare assistant program designed to be a single source for employee healthcare and benefits needs. The service, accessible via app, phone or web, will help employees make appointments and understand their bills but also coordinate transportation and arrange childcare during appointments.

Walmart plans an initial launch of the personal assistant program in North Carolina and South Carolina.

“These states represent interesting provider dynamics,” Snow wrote. “These are states with both renowned academic medical centers, small rural providers and everything in between. In our data, we also saw an opportunity for some associates to be better matched with providers or resources to produce better health outcomes for their personal needs.”

Walmart also is making a Grand Rounds search tool the first stop for employees who are looking for in-network physicians. It builds on an existing service that helps employees find experts for second opinions.

“Grand Rounds will match to the best available provider, including providers that are available for telehealth consult or other means of connection,” Snow said

In addition, Grand Rounds is collaborating with two other companies – telehealth provider Doctor On Demand and third-party administrator HealthSCOPE Benefits – on a telehealth program targeting employees with chronic conditions, behavioral health needs and other complex medical issues. The program will be available first to Walmart employees in Colorado, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Grand Rounds will be providing a referral network and complex care management as part of the program, Snow said.

In addition to its headquarters in San Francisco, Grand Rounds has offices in Reno, Nevada, and Lewiston, Maine. The Maine office, which opened in 2016, has been adding employees and space to handle growing demand. In early October, the company said it had about 150 employees in Maine and plans to reach 200 by the end of the year.

Like many employers, Walmart has been on a quest to reduce healthcare costs. In a press release announcing the latest changes to its health plans, the company cited an Institute of Medicine study noting that roughly 30 percent of healthcare spending is wasted.

“These are real problems for everyone and, unfortunately, the health system can be very difficult for people to navigate on their own,” Walmart said in its release.

Companies like Grand Rounds promise to lower costs and improve care by using data and technology to match patients with the right physicians for their needs. Grand Rounds has also been venturing into the broader arena of care and benefits coordination, in part through a product it introduced last year called Grand Rounds Summit.

Source: Walmart Media Library

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