Changing Market | Manage Your Practice

How Walmart’s Latest Healthcare Announcement Can Be Your Key to Higher Prices

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, beginning in January 2019, Walmart is requiring employees needing spine surgery to travel to certain contracted hospitals for their surgery.

The paper reports that among the health systems Walmart will favor are the Mayo Clinic, Geisinger, and Memorial Hermann.

So what’s that mean for you, assuming you’re not a Walmart employee.

Well, this may just be the tip of the iceberg. Will other large employers choose centers of excellence/centers of low cost/centers of what (?) in areas of the country for their employees’ major healthcare treatment? In fact, why think about in terms of “across the country,” when if a patient can fly some appreciable distance, he or she might just as easily be shipped off to a Joint Commission accredited facility in, well, India.

There other ways of looking at this, too. As more patients become comfortable with the notion of traveling to what’s billed as a “center of excellence” in some distant locale, might you, too, work to brand the care that you provide in a way that attracts patients from a larger geographic area, and I’m not just talking about the next county.

And, here’s another view: If someone or something has to travel, why can’t it be you. Not necessarily you, personally. But, you in terms of your brand name, stature, and technique? Whether that’s through branch locations, franchising, licensing, or joint ventures isn’t, at this stage, the point. The point is that there are many ways of looking at how you can increase the catchment area of your practice.

The first step in expanding your practice is to expand your way of thinking.

Let’s talk.

Comment or contact me if you’d like to discuss this post.

Mark F. Weiss

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About Brand Extension

Many hospitals have strong brands, as do many medical groups. They didn't just happen, they were developed. Brands are a promise of known value and quality. Think Mayo Clinic versus Next Hospital Before Freeway.

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