Wal-Mart Picks Mercy-Springfield for Employees' Free Surgeries

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has selected Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Mo., as a partner in a new program for its insured employees and their covered dependents.

Starting in January, six hospitals deemed “Centers of Excellence” will provide no-cost heart, spine and transplant surgeries for Wal-Mart employees on the company’s health insurance plan and their covered dependents.

Wal-Mart spokesman Randy Hargrove said the overall goal of the Centers of Excellence is to continue to improve the quality of care employees receive.

About 1.1 million Wal-Mart employees are covered by the company’s health insurance plan, he said.

Besides offering the surgeries at no cost, Wal-Mart will pay for travel, lodging and food for the patient and a caregiver, Hargrove said.

Mercy Hospital Springfield will provide spinal surgeries, including cervical and lumbar spinal fusion, total disk arthroplasty, spine surgery revisions and other complex spine procedures. The 866-bed hospital will treat Wal-Mart employees who live in the Midwest and Eastern U.S.

Facilities in Texas and Washington state also will offer spinal care, while the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, Geisinger Medical Center in Pennsylvania and the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota will provide cardiac surgeries and transplants.