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Saturday April 19th 2014

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Wal-Mart Could Transform Health Care. But Does it Want to?

WMBEDWal-Mart is in health care, and getting further entrenched by the year. In the past six months alone, Wal-Mart launched a major contracting initiative with half-a-dozen major hospitals, and dropped hints — since retracted — that the company is exploring new services like a health insurance exchange. To understand the company’s scale and ability to disrupt traditional market dynamics, look no further than last year’s Center of Excellence program. The company decided to directly contract with Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and four other leading hospitals. As a result of the COE program, more than 1.1 million Wal-Mart employees and dependents can now travel, at no cost, to those leading hospitals for certain cardiac and orthopedic procedures according to a recent report at www.californiahealthline.com.