Walmart Expands Health Benefits to Cover Heart and Spine Surgeries at No Cost to Associates Company's New "Centers of Excellence" Program is First-of-its Kind Partnering with Six of the Nation's Foremost Health Care Systems to Provide Better Care

BENTONVILLE, Ark., Oct. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- As health care costs continue to rise, Walmart is introducing a first-of-its-kind Centers of Excellence program that will offer its associates quality health care with no out-of-pocket cost for heart, spine, and transplant surgeries at six of the leading hospital and health systems in the U.S.  

(Logo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20090914/WALMARTLOGO)

The six designated health care organizations include the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio; Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa.; Mayo Clinic sites in Rochester, Minn., Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz., and Jacksonville, Fla.; Mercy Hospital Springfield in Springfield, Mo; Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple, Texas; and Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Wash. These organizations will give Walmart associates the opportunity to receive care at hospitals and medical centers geographically located across the country that specialize in heart, spine and transplant care.

"We devoted extensive time developing Centers of Excellence in order to improve the quality of care our associates' receive," said Sally Welborn, senior vice president of global benefits at Walmart. "We have identified six renowned health care systems that meet the highest quality standards for heart, spine and transplant surgery. Through these hospital systems, our associates will have no out-of-pocket expenses and a greater peace of mind knowing they are receiving exceptional care from a facility that specializes in the procedure they require.  This is the first time a retailer has offered a comprehensive, nationwide program for heart, spine and transplant surgery."

The new Centers of Excellence program is being expanded from covering transplants, which began with the Mayo Clinic in 1996, to include treatment for certain heart and spine surgeries. Walmart's associates and their dependents who are enrolled in the company's medical plans will receive consultations and care covered at 100 percent without deductible or coinsurance, plus travel, lodging and food for the patient and a caregiver.

Patients must be healthy enough to travel for the surgeries.  Four of the designated health care systems -- Cleveland Clinic, Geisinger Medical Center, Scott & White Memorial Hospital and Virginia Mason Medical Center, will offer specific procedures for cardiac surgery that include open heart surgery for coronary artery bypass grafting, heart valve replacement/repair, closures of heart defects, thoracic and aortic aneurysm repair and other complex cardiac surgeries. 

Three of the health care systems -- Mercy Hospital Springfield, Scott & White Memorial Hospital and Virginia Mason Medical Center will perform spine procedures that will include cervical and lumbar spinal fusion, total disk arthroplasty, spine surgery revisions and other complex spine surgeries. Transplants will continue to be provided by the Mayo Clinic.

In providing this service at no cost to its enrolled associates, Walmart has worked with these Centers of Excellence health systems to provide exclusive and unique bundled pricing arrangements for these types of procedures.  Through Centers of Excellence, Walmart is working with all the health care organizations to collectively share best practices that will allow collaboration around best measures of service and new industry findings in comparison to industry practices.

Quotes from Center of Excellence Hospital and Health Systems:
"Healthcare is in the midst of an unprecedented transformation and requires innovation to improve the way we deliver care to patients across the United States," said Cleveland Clinic President and Chief Executive Officer, Toby M. Cosgrove, M.D.  "Programs such as these will help get patients to the right place, for the right care, at the right time while focusing on quality outcomes and cost control." 

"Geisinger is recognized nationally for innovations that enhance patient care and create value, including our ProvenCare best-practice approach to caring for cardiac disease," said Geisinger Health System President and Chief Executive Officer Glenn Steele, Jr., M.D. "As a result of this innovative program and the commitment of our expert caregivers and support team, our patients recover faster, spend less time in the hospital and experience fewer complications. We are pleased to partner with Walmart in its Centers of Excellence Program and look forward to caring for their associates with cardiac disease."

"While reviewing associates' medical experience with Mayo Clinic, benefits executives from Walmart discovered that Mayo physicians often found other cost effective ways to treat patients, such as medications, before pursuing transplant options," said John Noseworthy, M.D., Mayo Clinic president and CEO, Mayo Clinic. "Our partnership with Walmart remains strong today, and the company continues to recognize the value and quality of Mayo Clinic care. We're proud to see that value is being recognized and that the approach is being expanded to include other providers who share the same philosophy."

"Mercy Hospital Springfield is pleased to be named as a Walmart Center of Excellence. It affirms our commitment to getting health care right, as we focus on compassionate care and exceptional service," said Jon Swope, president and CEO, Mercy Springfield Communities

"Scott & White Memorial Hospital has been recognized at the national level for outstanding clinical performance, and we are part of a national initiative to continually improve the health care experience while providing evidence-based, high quality care to our patients," said Robert W. Pryor, MD, MBA, president and CEO, Scott & White Healthcare. "As the largest, fully-integrated health care system serving Central Texas, Scott & White is the only health care provider in the state to be named by Walmart as a Center of Excellence, and we're honored to be included among a group of providers similarly recognized for exceptional and high value care."

"We are honored to serve Walmart and its associates as a Center of Excellence for heart and spine surgery," said Sue Anderson, senior vice president for Virginia Mason Medical Center. "We share Walmart's approach to value. At Virginia Mason, we are focused on providing patients with the right care at the right time in the right setting. This translates to high quality outcomes of care at a lower cost."

About Walmart
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices.  Each week, more than 200 million customers and members visit our 10,300 stores under 69 banners in 27 countries and e-commerce websites in 10 countries.  With fiscal year 2012 sales of approximately $444 billion, Walmart employs more than 2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://corporate.walmart.com, and on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart. Online merchandise sales are available at http://www.walmart.com and http://www.samsclub.com.

About Cleveland Clinic
A worldwide leader in cardiovascular care, Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. For 18 consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has ranked Cleveland Clinic as the No. 1 hospital in the country for cardiology and heart surgery. In 2011, the Cleveland Clinic Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute saw 404,385 patient visits with its surgeons performing more than 4,000 cardiac surgeries. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, Cleveland Clinic was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. About 2,800 full-time salaried physicians and researchers and 11,000 nurses represent 120 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic Health System includes a main campus near downtown Cleveland, eight community hospitals and 18 Family Health Centers in Northeast Ohio, Cleveland Clinic Florida, the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Cleveland Clinic Canada, and opening in 2013, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. Visit us at www.clevelandclinic.org.  Follow us at www.twitter.com/ClevelandClinic.

 About Geisinger
Geisinger is an integrated health services organization widely recognized for its innovative use of the electronic health record, and the development and implementation of innovative care models including ProvenHealth Navigator®, an advanced medical home model, and ProvenCare® program. The system serves more than 2.6 million residents throughout 44 counties in central and northeastern Pennsylvania. For more information, visit www.geisinger.org. Follow the latest Geisinger news and more at Twitter and Facebook.

About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life. For more information, visit MayoClinic.com or MayoClinic.org/news

About Mercy Hospital Springfield
Mercy Hospital Springfield is an 866-bed referral center, with more than 500,000 patient visits and 30,000 surgical procedures each year. It is ranked as the nation's top integrated health care system by Modern Healthcare magazine. It is part of Mercy's Springfield region, which is also comprised of four regional Missouri hospitals in Lebanon, Aurora, Cassville, and Mountain View, and a hospital in Berryville, Ark., as well as Mercy Clinic, a 500-plus physician clinic with 70 locations throughout the region. It is part of Mercy, which is the sixth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 31 hospitals, nearly 300 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,700 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For more about Mercy, visit www.mercy.net.

About Scott & White Healthcare (sw.org)
Scott & White Healthcare is a non-profit collaborative health care system established in 1897 in Temple, Texas.  Among the leading health systems encompassing one of the nation's largest multi-specialty group practices, Scott & White provides personalized, comprehensive health care enhanced by medical education and research.  Scott & White Healthcare includes 12 hospital sites with two additional announced facilities, and 143 clinics at more than 65 clinic locations throughout Central Texas providing adult and pediatric care in 46 medical specialties.  Integrated, high-quality care is delivered by a dedicated staff of more than 12,000 (including 1,000 physicians and scientists and more than 300 specialized health care providers). Get the latest news from Scott & White Healthcare by visiting our online newsroom, News blog or on Twitter (@swhealthcare).

About Virginia Mason Medical Center
Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system in Seattle, Wash. Virginia Mason employs more than 5,300 people and includes a 336-bed acute-care hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 450 physicians; satellite locations throughout the Puget Sound area; and Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the U.S. designed and built specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS. Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason is internationally recognized for its breakthrough autoimmune disease research. Virginia Mason was the first health system to apply lean manufacturing principles to health care delivery to eliminate waste and improve quality and patient safety. To learn more about Virginia Mason Medical Center, please visit VirginiaMason.org or Facebook.com/VMcares or follow @VirginiaMason on Twitter.  To learn more about how Virginia Mason is transforming health care and to join the conversation, visit our blog at virginiamasonblog.org.

SOURCE Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.



RELATED LINKS
http://www.walmartstores.com
http://www.clevelandclinic.org
http://www.geisinger.org
http://www.MayoClinic.org
http://www.mercy.net
http://www.sw.org
http://www.VirginiaMason.org

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