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US Hospital Group Offers Warranty on Surgeries

Victims of botched up surgeries generally suffer in silence, cough up more money to get things right. Some do move the courts , with mixed results.

And here comes the news that a hospital group in central Pennsylvania is offering warranty on 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, it would not to send the insurer another bill.

Well the Geisinger Health System that has been implementing the idea on an experimental basis for a year now says it is not wooing customers as manufacturers of TV sets or washing machines.

Since Geisinger began its experiment in February 2006, focusing on elective heart bypass surgery, it says patients have been less likely to return to intensive care, have spent fewer days in the hospital and are more likely to return directly to their own homes instead of a nursing home.

Geisinger presented the first-year results of its experimental program at a meeting last month of the American Surgical Association.

Reviewing the existing professional guidelines and medical literature, Geisingers cardiac surgeons came up with their list of 40 action items viewed as best practices like screening a patient for the risk of a stroke before surgery or administering beta blocker drugs after surgery to reduce the chances of an irregular heartbeat.

Then they devised procedures to ensure the steps would always be followed, regardless of which surgeon or which one of its three hospitals was involved.

Geisingers 40-step system makes sure every patient gets the recommended treatment.

It is still too early to know whether the approach, which Geisinger calls Proven Care, will catch on with employers and health insurers.

So far, the only insurer that Geisinger has contracted with under the new arrangement is its own insurance unit, whi
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