A new bundled payment trio: Cleveland Clinic, Kroger, Anthem target heart surgery costs

Employees of grocery chain Kroger can access cardiac surgery care at Cleveland Clinic through a partnership with Anthem, the organizations said Feb. 5.

Five things to know:

1. In partnership with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio and its affiliated health plans, the Cleveland Clinic Cardiac Concierge Program will provide Kroger associates and their families access to complex heart surgery at the Cleveland Clinic Heart & Vascular Institute.

2. Debuted Jan. 1, the Cleveland Clinic Cardiac Concierge Program intends to curb heart surgery costs and improve outcomes by using bundled payments. Under the program, a single payment will cover a patient's treatment over a period of time.

3. Kroger also will pay 100 percent of travel expenses to Cleveland Clinic for eligible plan members and a companion. Anthem will arrange the travel through a medical tourism facilitator called Healthbase.

4. The program is part of Cleveland Clinic's Center of Excellence Program for cardiac surgery and represents the first time Cleveland Clinic has partnered directly with an insurer. Plan members' care will be managed by an Anthem coordinator who will be the point of contact for patients, from pre-surgical appointments to at-home recovery.

5. Anthem will also allow Kroger employees and dependents to access a free second opinion for cardiac surgery at Cleveland Clinic, which has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the No. 1 heart center in the nation for nearly a quarter of a century.

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