Employers are now adding Spine to Joint Benefits
EMPLOYERS ADD SPINE TO JOINT BENEFITS (Orthopedics This Week)
One of the major causes of lost work time in America is pain in the back. Now, according to Joel Krasc, writing for Employees Benefit News, employers have been looking at how best to help employees with their back problems. Krasc reports that the Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH) is expanding its Employers Centers of Excellence Network (ECEN) to include spine surgery.
Large employers created the ECEN to facilitate the treatment of problems such as hip and knee joint replacements by bundling rates through approved health facilities at little or no cost to the employee.
Krasc quoted Olivia Ross, MPH, MBA, associate director of the PBGH as saying, “We initially sat down with eight employers to see how this type of program could meet the needs of different companies.” Company President and CEO David Lansky followed up saying, “We vigorously evaluated the participating hospitals’ experience in evidence-based medicine and use of consistently applied patient appropriateness criteria to ensure that participating employees are receiving higher quality care.”
According to Krasc, the three hospitals participating in the new spine care program include Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania; Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Missouri; and Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Washington. By becoming part of the ECEN, employers are given access to the hospitals making their due diligence costs lower. The lowered costs are passed on to the employees. “We negotiate very competitive rates,” said Ross.
Krasc wrote that patients are encouraged to go to the ECENs because often times they are told they need surgery when they may not. “Every patient has the option of in-person evaluation even if they are not a strong surgical candidate. By offering an in-person evaluation at a center of excellence, all of our patients receive a comprehensive assessment from a team of experts that works with them to create an optimal, customized treatment plan.”