Impossible! Outrageous! Unreasonable! Those are the types of responses I would expect to hear from administrators of our local hospital (Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital) if asked the above question. Well, it appears that at least one hospital is willing to give it a try.
Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania has overhauled its approach to surgery. And taking a cue from the makers of television sets, washing machines and consumer products, Geisinger essentially guarantees its workmanship, charging a flat fee that includes 90 days of follow-up treatment. Even if a patient suffers complications or has to come back to the hospital, Geisinger promises not to send the insurer another bill. The plan is called “Provencare.”
Geisinger stands out as a group that has transformed the way it delivers care, said Dr. Donald M. Berwick, the chief executive of Institute for Healthcare Improvement, a national nonprofit organization whose goal is better patient care. In almost no other field would consumers tolerate the frequency of error that is common in medicine, Dr. Berwick said, and Geisinger has managed to reduce the rate significantly. “Getting everything right is really, really hard,” he said.
What a great idea!