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Geisinger becomes the first member of Risant Health

Lowe’s, Wal-Mart and JetBlue participating in PBGH spine care program


DANVILLE, PA -- Geisinger Medical Center (GMC) has been established as one of three hospital providers for spine surgery in the Employers Centers of Excellence Network (ECEN) by The Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH), a non-profit business coalition of 60 large health care purchaser members focused on health care quality and affordability.

The largest hospital in Geisinger, which is viewed as a national model in providing both high-quality and cost-effective medical care, GMC joins Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Mo. and Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Wash. as the ECEN spine care providers for participating PBGH employers, which include Lowe’s, Walmart and JetBlue.

The ECEN selection qualifies both the hospital and its surgeons based on quality and outcomes data at the individual surgeon level. The assessment criteria includes a review of more than 30 public data metrics, interviews with the clinical team, and an on-site visit to observe the patient’s complete experience. ECEN centers must demonstrate exceptional clinical outcomes and patient experience, including shared decision-making.

The ECEN patients visit a team of spine care specialists including the spine surgeon, physiatrist, behavioral health provider and internal medicine physician. Other specialists are included based on the patient’s individual clinical needs. This comprehensive team is able to offer the patient a detailed review of their problem and a recommendation for the optimal care plan which may or may not include surgery.

Hospital providers in the ECEN utilize “bundled” rates, meaning that all costs are included as a single lump sum, which offers cost predictability and transparency. Participating employers have agreed to pay for the travel costs for their employees and waive their standard patient contributions, such as deductible and co-pays.

Geisinger has been widely recognized for its improved patient outcomes at reduced cost through its bundled care models, such as ProvenCare® Lumbar Spine.

“Geisinger is on the forefront of advancing the value care agenda,” said Jonathan Slotkin (left), M.D., director of spinal surgery, Geisinger Neurosciences Institute. “We continuously reengineer our care delivery to achieve the best possible outcomes in a cost-effective and patient-centered way. We are pleased to partner with Pacific Business Group on Health, along with Walmart, Lowe’s, Jet Blue and other corporate partners to provide cutting-edge medical and surgical spine care for their associates. These companies have been on the absolute leading edge of value-conscious medical care for their employees and we share their view that better care usually means smarter care, not necessarily more expensive care.”

The PBGH spine surgery initiative launched on April 1 and Geisinger physicians have already seen several patients since its launch.

More than 600,000 Americans undergo spine surgery each year, according to the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons. This number continues to grow each year despite mounting clinical evidence that many spine surgeries are not only inappropriate but ultimately cause patient harm.

“We believe that Geisinger is uniquely positioned for this type of program that promotes guideline-concordant care to maximize outcomes. We know well that guideline-discordant care is going to lead to poor outcomes and unnecessary cost,” said Michael Haak (right), M.D., an orthopaedic spine surgeon who is teaming up with Dr. Slotkin to lead GMC’s participation in the ECEN. “We have a terrific system in place here at Geisinger [through ProvenCare] that allows us to consistently make the right decisions for patients.”

Dr. Haak, Dr. Slotkin, and Sam Wu, M.D., a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician, co-direct Geisinger’s ProvenCare Lumbar Spine program.

About Pacific Business Group Health
PBGH ( is a non-profit business coalition focused on improving the quality and affordability of health care. The group represents 60 large health care purchaser members with more than 10 million employees, retirees and dependents in California. Follow us on Twitter.

About Geisinger
Geisinger is among the nation’s leading providers of value-based care, serving 1.2 million people in urban and rural communities across Pennsylvania. Founded in 1915 by philanthropist Abigail Geisinger, the non-profit system generates $10 billion in annual revenues across 134 care sites - including 10 hospital campuses, and Geisinger Health Plan, with 600,000 members in commercial and government plans. The Geisinger College of Health Sciences educates more than 5,000 medical professionals annually and conducts more than 1,400 clinical research studies. With 26,000 employees, including 1,600 employed physicians, Geisinger is among Pennsylvania’s largest employers with an estimated economic impact of $14 billion to the state’s economy. On March 31, 2024, Geisinger became the first member of Risant Health, a new nonprofit charitable organization created to expand and accelerate value-based care across the country.  Learn more at or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and X.

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