September 5, 2017

California county goes surgery shopping

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor’s Note

California’s Santa Barbara County and other government employers are joining private employers in shopping for lower-cost bundled surgical care, even if it means going out of town, the September 1 Kaiser Health News reports.

The voluntary program that includes incentives such as waived copays and deductibles as well as paying travel costs has saved the county nearly 50% on four procedures since the program began last year.

Santa Barbara County has about 4,000 employees and is one of about 400 employers on the West Coast working with Carrum Health–a South San Francisco start-up that negotiates bundled prices and chooses surgeons based on complications and readmissions data.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Retiree Leslie Robinson-Stone and her husband enjoyed a weeklong, all-expenses-paid trip to a luxury resort – all thanks to the county she worked for. The couple also received more than a thousand dollars in spending money and a personal concierge, who attended to their every need.

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