Business Columns & Blogs

Geisinger launching new patient satisfaction program

The Geisinger Gray’s Woods location in State College.
The Geisinger Gray’s Woods location in State College. Centre Daily Times, file

A Geisinger Health System program could get patients their money back.

The program, ProvenExperience, offers refunds to patients whose expectations weren’t met based on kindness and compassion.

Geisinger President and Chief Executive Officer David T. Feinberg introduced ProvenExperience during a speech at the 2015 Press Ganey Executive Leadership Conference in Orlando, and it was implemented in November.

“The way I see it, if you go into Starbucks and you’re not happy with your order, they don’t sip your latte and argue that they made it correctly,” Feinberg said in a release. “They just take care of you on the spot.”

A pilot of the program was launched at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville. A key component of the program is a patient app that allows certain surgery patients enrolled in the pilot to determine the amount of the refund they want based on their co-pay.

What matters to me is that every patient is satisfied with their treatment and so I started thinking, ‘What is our guarantee? What is our refund?

David T. Feinberg, Geisinger CEO

If a spine surgery patient paid a $1,000 copay and they weren’t pleased with how office staff treated them, the company said, they can log into the app and select from a sliding scale how much of their copay they want refunded. They can choose from $1 to $1,000. The refund request is processed within five business days.

The app, however, isn’t the only avenue for refunds.

Patients can also contact their provider and operations manager or patient advocate at the clinic they went to. Patients can call 570-271-8881, email or fill out a form on Geisinger’s contact page.

“What matters to me is that every patient is satisfied with their treatment, and so I started thinking, ‘What is our guarantee? What is our refund?’” Feinberg said. “We need to be disruptive to move the practice of providing great patient experience forward, and so the decision was made to give unsatisfied patients their money back.”

The honor system, like any other, could be abused.

Feinberg doesn’t think that will happen.

“Ultimately, (patients) just want to be acknowledged and to spare other families any pain they might have experienced,” he said.

ProvenExperience is an evolution of Geisinger’s ProvenCare, implemented in 2006, in which if certain surgery patients were readmitted within 90 days with a preventable complication, they would be taken care of at no extra charge.

Shop small

The Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County gathered information from members about their Small Business Saturday deals and posted it on

The CBICC, in a newsletter, said it wanted to help drive customers to small business Nov. 28. It also had Shop Small marketing materials available for member businesses to help promote the day.

Merchant Cash USA, a financial organization, surveyed 3,876 small business owners around the country about shopping small.

About two-thirds of owners reported growth in 2015. The mom and pop shops reported, on average, that they anticipated sales increasing about 25 to 40 percent over last year’s holiday season sales. Another 78 percent planned to drive sales by increasing marketing and inventory for shoppers.

On the average

State College is not only in the center of Pennsylvania.

It also is middle of the road when it comes to renter’s insurance.

The Bank of North America, founded in Pennsylvania, conducted a study that evaluated quotes across five major carriers and 92 cities for rental properties with about 1,000-square-feet of living space and $100,000 in liability coverage to see which cities had the cheapest and the most expensive renters insurance.

State College, listed at $341, split the difference and was 0 percent off from the state average.

Nearby counties like Clearfield ranked lowest at about $301.

Obesity projection

Obesity can cause heart disease and other serious detrimental health effects on children as young as 8 years old, according to a study led by Geisinger researchers.

Imaging tests of obese children showed signs of significant heart disease and heart muscle abnormalities. Linyuan Jing, postdoctoral fellow in he Institute for Advanced Application and the lead author of the study, presented her findings at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2015 in Orlando.

Comparing 20 obese kids with 20 healthy-weight kids, researchers found that obesity was linked to 27 percent more muscle mass in the left ventricle of their hearts and 12 percent thicker heart muscles — both signs of heart disease.

Forty percent of the obese children were considered high-risk due to problems with the thickened muscle in the heart which were associated with impaired pumping ability. None of the children in the study showed physical symptoms.

Shawn Annarelli: 814-235-3928, @Shawn_Annarelli