Cleveland Clinic, Wal-Mart partner in direct-employer services

Six major health centers are making a pact with the world's largest retailer to offer Wal-Mart employees free heart and spine surgeries, Reuters reported. As the first national program for covering heart, spine and transplant surgery, Wal-Mart employees qualify for complex surgeries at no cost to patients under arrangements with Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland; Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa.; Mayo Clinic sites in Minnesota, Arizona and Florida; Mercy Hospital Springfield in Springfield, Mo.; Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple, Texas; and Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle.

Cleveland Clinic has similar, but smaller, arrangements with Lowe's and Boeing. The direct-to-employer arrangements made up about $1 million of Cleveland Clinic's 2011 revenue, compared to its overall revenue of $5.83 billion. The retail chain-provider partnership could set a corporate precedent, the news outlet reported. "It's a growing trend and an important new aspect of employers' ability to manage quality and improve their value proposition," Michael McMillan, executive director of market and network services at Cleveland Clinic, told Reuters. "We see more and more large employers asking about this kind of approach." Article