(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.