Cleveland Clinic, Lowe's heart deal exceeds expectations

The medical tourism deal between Cleveland Clinic and Lowe's has already surpassed expectations, according to the home improvement retailer. More Lowe's employees have elected to go Cleveland Clinic for heart surgery than originally projected for the program's first year, MedCity News reports.

Meeting a target of 10 employees for the first year of the agreement would have been a "home run," according to a Lowe's spokesman. By the end of the year, that number will have more than doubled. So far 17 employees or family members have had heart procedures at the Clinic, and six more are scheduled for surgery this year. One in three Lowe's employees or family members who need serious cardiac surgery have opted to go to the Clinic, Lowe's spokeswoman Karen Cobb said. The program was launched in April.

Lowe's flies its employees and covers room and board while in Cleveland. The retailer pays the Clinic a flat rate for all services, Becker's Hospital Review reports. Because all Cleveland Clinic physicians are on staff, they have no financial incentive to offer more services than necessary, which keeps costs down.

Both sides benefit from the arrangement. Lowe's employees get access to top-rated Medicare care. And the higher quality likely correlates to lower long-term costs, according to Michael McMillan, director of marketing and network services at the Cleveland Clinic. The hospital gets to expands its out-of-state patient base at a time when the local economy is in the doldrums. According to the Hospital Review, more than half of its heart patients come from outside the state. The facility anticipates more such deals with other companies. It may also apply the program to specialties such as orthopedic surgery.

To learn more:
- read the MedCity News article
- see the Hospital Review story

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