Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lowe's Commits to Cleveland Clinic

This is pretty amazing. The Cleveland Clinic has entered into an agreement with the home improvement superstore Lowe's to provide lower costing cardiac care for its employees. From the Plain Dealer:
Lowe's is offering employees incentives in the form of reduced out-of-pocket costs to come to the Clinic for heart procedures. Lowe's said it chose the Clinic among five hospitals nationwide in an effort to improve the quality of medical care for its workers and to lower costs.

The arrangement shows how cost and quality, which won the Clinic praise last summer from President Barack Obama, can drive business to top-performing hospitals.

Neither the Clinic nor Lowe's would divulge financial details, but the Clinic said it gave the company a package price for doctor and hospital services.

The Clinic model of employing its doctors and paying salaries allows it to control costs, which Bob Ihrie, Lowe's senior vice president in charge of benefits, said attracted the Mooresville, N.C., company.

Is this just the beginning of the nation-wide consolidation of health care provision where giant conglomerates like the Cleveland Clinic and multi-national corporations are able to strike deals wherein they can lowball competitors on the costs of lucrative procedures?

I find it interesting that this deal does not have anything to do with primary care or plain old regular "doctoring". It's strictly for the highly lucrative field of invasive cardiology. So that strikes me as a little suspicious. But if costs are held down....I'll have to think about the overall implications. But in general my initial impression is that it all seems a little too exploitative and overbearing. It would be one thing if the agreement meant that employees of Lowe's would receive comprehensive health care for a lower cost. But this just makes it look like the Clinic is trying to vulture a bunch of high paying cardiac stenting procedures.

Disclaimer: I am currently in contact with a representative from my area Lemonade Stand Union to secure exclusive rights on all surgical procedures on the boys and girls manning the stands this summer....


Anonymous said...
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DocV said...

Wow! Lowes is headquartered out of Charlotte, NC. I'm amazed that Carolina Medical Center (CMC-Main) couldn't work out a better deal for them.

james gaulte said...

More than 10 years ago Dr. Denton Cooley offered similar arrangements to a number of large companies headquartered in Houston to have various diagnostic and surgical services done at the Texas Heart Institute at a discount,everything from a stress test to heart transplants.I understand that at least one large petrochemical company had a similar arrangement at MD Anderson for cancer care. Since this company was self-insured the plans involved no co-pay at all from the employees who were treated.

Guiac said...

One question is this really a plan to offer discounted services or is this more of a capitated or partially capitated system?