Out of state medical care

(An interesting possibility to toss into the healthcare cost management discussion in Vermont.  Upsides? Downsides?  Let’s talk about it. – promoted by Sue Prent)

Bloomberg News on the Internet, March 7, 2014, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/… carries a story titled Cheaper Surgery Sends Lowe’s Flying to The Cleveland Clinic which reports that Lowes Inc. is sending employees to a Cleveland Clinic.

To encourage employees, Lowe’s covers the full cost of surgery, as well as travel and lodging for the worker and a relative. The company health plan won’t cover thousands of dollars of unbundled costs at local hospitals.

As a result, Terry White, president of  BridgeHealth Medical, a Denver based benefit manager said:

In some cases, hospitals will drop their prices as much as 40 percent to guarantee a steady stream of patients they wouldn’t have otherwise.

This is market capitalism at its best if you are not in the local medical industry.

It’s win-win-win for patients, employers and the hospital.

It is certain that there will be immense pressure on the legislatures of Vermont from the medical personnel of the state to prevent this practice. The Vermont legislatures should act to assure that all citizens of the state have the benefit of such practices when the medical standards of out of state hospitals meet the standards of safety for Vermont. Obviously, with the permitted anything-goes attitude of right-wing capitalism in this country, an attempt to horn in on this practice by unqualified, unsafe, opportunistic public and private hospitals will occur.

The practice could be of tremendous value to the average citizen of Vermont if qualified and certified medical competence can be assured. Nothing in this writing is or should be read as criticism of specific medical personnel or institutions in the State of Vermont. The writer has great respect for the medical care he has received in this state.

The same comments applicable to this practice must be enabled by federal statutes. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services should immediately begin consideration of certifying hospitals in this regard and modification of pertinent federal statutes.

5 thoughts on “Out of state medical care

  1. As these kinds of practices become more common in the marketplace, the cost-cutting potential of having one huge aggregate negotiator will become more and more apparent.

    “Single payer” is as much market efficiency as it is “socialized medicine.”

  2. All the local hospitals are in NH – at least as far south as Rte 89. I don’t know about south of there.  

  3. The post states:

    [Bloomberg] reports that Lowes Inc. is sending employees to a Cleveland Clinic.

    The Lowes employees are given the option of receiving cardiac care at “The Cleveland Clinic” not “a” clinic in Cleveland.  FYI:  http://health.usnews.com/best-


    Given the sad state of employer insurance plans, private health insurance, and the massive lack of access to meaningful health care in the U.S., it’s nice to read a RARE piece of good news.

    For workers who need access to quality health care, this is one of the very few “good news” stories, over the past few years, I’ve seen related to private or employer based health care coverage.

    I am not aware of any insurance plan in Vermont that pays the travel costs, and travel related costs, for Vermont patients to receive either better treatment at top-ranked facilities, or to receive medical services not available in Vermont.

  4. Thanks for the correction of “The Cleveland Clinic.” Neither am I aware of a plan in Vermont similar to that which Lowes is using.

  5. Is a very large hospital ‘system’.

    They have branches in Nevada, Florida, Northeast Ohio, Toronta, Saudi Arabia and UAE. Not sure what they provide in those locations, as well as in Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama.

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