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Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Walmart has an extreme hands-on approach to its health care benefits, and Kaiser Health News reports on the latest frontier in that effort: imaging.

Driving the news: Walmart is already sending its employees to a specified set of high-quality health systems for surgery, and even covering their travel costs. But it figured out that about half of those surgeries were unnecessary, KHN reports, and traced those procedures back to errors in tests like MRIs and CT scans.

  • Walmart then hired the health care analytics firm Covera to figure out a network of high-quality imaging centers, and it now directs its beneficiaries to those centers — even if they're not the cheapest.
  • Employees don't have to use those centers, but Walmart pays for more of the bill if they do.

Quality ratings for imaging centers is hard to come by. Unless you work for Walmart and need a scan, it would be pretty difficult to find the highest-quality option in your area.

  • And, KHN notes, most employers are pushing their workers toward the cheapest options, rather than the best.

Our thought bubble: Walmart seems to be doing the thing everyone else talks about — trying to save money in the long run by investing in quality up front — with rigorous metrics and research to help define it.

Go deeper: Walmart employees must travel for some surgeries

Go deeper

Why made-for-TV moments matter during the pandemic

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Erin Schaff-Pool, Biden Inaugural Committee via Getty Images

In a world where most Americans are isolated and forced to laugh, cry and mourn without friends or family by their side, viral moments can offer critical opportunities to unite the country or divide it.

Driving the news: President Biden's inauguration was produced to create several made-for-social viral moments, a tactic similar to what the Democratic National Committee and the Biden campaign pulled off during the Democratic National Convention.

Updated 8 hours ago - World

Over 3,000 detained in protests across Russia demanding Navalny's release

Russian police officers beat protestesters at a rally against of jailing of oppositon leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow on Saturday. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Police in Russia on Saturday arrested more than 3,300 people as protesters nationwide demanded that opposition leader Alexey Navalny be released from jail.

Details: Demonstrations began in the eastern regions of Russia and spread west to more than 60 cities.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain and GOP governor

Combination images of Cindy McCain and Gov. Doug Ducey. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for U.S.VETS/Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Arizona Republican Party members voted on Saturday to censure prominent GOP figures Cindy McCain, Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who've all faced clashes with former President Trump.

Why it matters: Although the resolution is symbolic, this move plus the re-election of the Trump-endorsed Kelli Ward as state GOP chair shows the strong hold the former president has on the party in Arizona, despite President Biden winning the state in the 2020 election.