Walmart to nudge employees towards featured doctors

by jerry on October 05, 2019
Kaiser Health News reported that Walmart is continuing its exploration of nudging its employees towards certain healthcare providers. Earlier, Walmart had given employees financial incentives to select certain hospitals over others. Now, Walmart is trying out a pilot program to do so with individual doctors. The pitched idea is that patients that go to higher quality providers can avoid unnecessary care, reducing costs in the long run.

The article mentions risks of alienating providers (many of whom do not like to be graded) and potentially upsetting employees who do not want to change physicians. In isolation, the risks do not seem significant at this point. However, when insurers earlier tried programs known as Pay For Performance where physicians who met certain guidelines were awarded bonuses, the medical community frequently objected and the popularity of those programs faded away. It remains to be seen whether the medical community will accept these criteria, whether many employees will comply, and whether the shift in employee choices will result in cost savings.