Nov 15, 2018

Walmart employees must travel for some surgeries

Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Walmart is requiring employees to travel to specific, well-regarded hospitals for spinal procedures, in a bid to cut down on its health care costs, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday.

What's happening: Walmart is paying for surgery at some big-name systems, including the Mayo Clinic and Geisinger, while slashing what it will pay closer to employees’ homes. Adding the extra hurdle has helped cut down on unnecessary procedures, for which physical therapy might be just as effective, per WSJ. Of course, it’s also a big hoop to jump through for employees who are in pain and legitimately need surgery.

Flashback: Walmart previously tried to excise the lowest-quality providers from its health care network, but was thwarted by hospitals’ all-or-nothing contracts.

The big picture: If the country’s biggest private employer is having this hard of a time driving high-value care, that’s not a great sign for the rest of us, or for the system as a whole.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 1,407,123— Total deaths: 81,103 — Total recoveries: 297,934Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 386,800 — Total deaths: 12,285 — Total recoveries: 20,191Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Trump removes watchdog overseeing rollout of $2 trillion coronavirus bill — Senate looks to increase coronavirus relief for small businesses this week
  4. Public health latest: Testing capacity is still lagging far behind demand.
  5. World latest: China reopens Wuhan after 10-week coronavirus lockdown.
  6. Wisconsin primary in photos: Thousands gathered to cast ballots in-person during the height of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S.
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America's food heroes

Photos: Charlie Riedel/AP (L); Brent Stirton/Getty Images

The people who grow, process and keep food stocked on shelves are doing heroic work in these conditions, often for bottom-barrel pay.

Why it matters: Millions of Americans don't have the luxury of working from home, and it's essential that food workers keep working so we can keep eating.

Go deeperArrow15 mins ago - Health

Acting Navy secretary resigns over handling of virus-infected ship

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly resigned Tuesday after apologizing for comments he made about Capt. Brett Crozier, who was removed after a letter he wrote pleading with the Navy to address the coronavirus outbreak aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt was leaked to the press. The resignation was first reported by Politico.

Why it matters: The controversy over Crozier's removal was exacerbated after audio leaked of Modly's address to the crew, in which he said Crozier was either "too naive or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this." After initially backing Modly's decision, President Trump said at a briefing Monday that he would "get involved."