Geisinger patient refund policy spurs at least 1 health system to consider the idea

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In late 2015, Geisinger Health System President and CEO David Feinberg, MD, decided to go for a novel idea: offering a money-back guarantee on healthcare.

The Danville, Pa.-based health system launched its ProvenExperience program last November. Under the program, patients who receive care at a Geisinger facility can use a smartphone app to tell the system about their experience and then ask for a refund if they aren't happy with the care they received. The app was initially piloted for bariatric and spine surgery patients since those procedures have high copays. However, it expanded to all patients in early April.

Between October and mid-March, Geisinger received 74 refund requests, according to a Washington Post report. As a result, the system refunded or waived charges of nearly $80,000, officials said, according to the report. Only copays and deductibles can be considered, and refunds have ranged from $20 to a few thousand dollars.

Other health system leaders were skeptical of Dr. Feinberg's idea at first, but that skepticism has dwindled given how the feedback already has boosted patient satisfaction scores, according to the Washington Post. And now, at least one other system — University of Utah Health Care in Salt Lake City — is looking into a similar program, the publication notes.

Overall, Dr. Feinberg maintains that the refund process provides Geisinger with valuable information, spotlighting areas that need improvement, according to the report.

Dr. Feinberg told the Washington Post Geisinger is already making improvements after receiving patient feedback, starting with a new corporate chef to come up with better menus at each hospital. He told the publication he is also working on a plan to eliminate all emergency room wait times within three years.

 

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