Walmart steering employees to 800 imaging centers to avoid misdiagnoses

Walmart is recommending its employees use one of 800 imaging centers found to provide more accurate diagnoses, according to Kaiser Health News.

The move came after Walmart officials discovered that about half of the company's workers who underwent back surgery in the past few years actually didn't need those operations due to misdiagnosis. A large issue was employees' diagnostic imaging like CT scans and MRIs had high error rates, Lisa Woods, senior director of benefits design for Walmart, told Kaiser Health News.

Since March, Walmart has begun steering workers to specific imaging providers based on diagnostic accuracy, not price, to curb misdiagnoses. Employer health experts believe Walmart is among the first retail giant to do so, according to the report.

While Walmart workers don't have to use the 800 centers marked off as higher quality by the retailer, they could face additional cost-sharing if they go to a different location. The list of high-quality centers was curated for Walmart by New York City-based health analytics firm Covera Health. Covera Health uses data to designate which imaging centers will be the most accurate for conditions from cancer to torn knee ligaments.

Walmart's imaging strategy mirrors its other cost-saving efforts to steer employees to certain hospitals and providers for high-cost health procedures.

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