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Geisinger creates warranty program for health care

Geisinger Health System unveiled a new program this week that will place a money-back warranty on its health care treatment.

The program, ProvenExperience, will offer a refund to patients whose expectations aren’t met by the health system. Expectations are based on kindness and compassion.

A pilot of the program is underway at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville. It’s not clear when the program will be rolled out to other Geisinger facilities, such as Holy Spirit Health System.

The pilot is allowing selected surgery patients to pick a refund amount based on their co-pays. An example provided in the news release is of a spine surgery patient.

If the patient paid a $1,000 co-pay but was not happy with the staff’s treatment, the patient could log into the app and select from a sliding scale how much of the co-pay should be refunded.

Patients can choose from $1 to $1,000, and the refund request is processed within three to five business days.

While the set-up places a lot of trust in patients, Geisinger President and CEO David T. Feinberg isn’t concerned about people abusing the program.

“Ultimately, they just want to be acknowledged and to spare other families any pain they might have experienced,” Feinberg said.

Feinberg announced the program yesterday during a speech at the 2015 Press Ganey Executive Leadership Conference in Orlando, Fla.

“The way I see it, if you go into Starbucks and you’re not happy with your order, they don’t sip your latte and argue that they made it correctly. They just take care of you on the spot,” Feinberg said. “What matters to me is that every patient is satisfied with their treatment, and so I started thinking, ‘What is our guarantee? What is our refund?’ We need to be disruptive to move the practice of providing great patient experience forward and so the decision was made to give unsatisfied patients their money back.”

ProvenExperience evolved from Geisinger’s ProvenCare portfolio, which started in 2006 and transformed the health care industry by proving that applying evidence-based protocols could reduce mortality rates, improve outcomes and reduce costly readmissions. In that program, if certain surgery patients are readmitted within 90 days because of a preventable complication, they are taken care of at no extra charge.

Feinberg recognizes that the idea of placing a warranty on health care treatment and refunding money is extreme.

Despite criticism from other industry leaders, he argues his focus is on “returning to the core of what we’re supposed to do when given the privilege to take care of others.”

Lenay Ruhl

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