PA hospital offers robotic prostatectomy guarantee

December 4, 2008

St. Luke's Hospital in Bethlehem, PA, will offer what it's calling a first-of-its-kind clinical guarantee on robot-assisted radical prostatectomies.

St. Luke’s Hospital in Bethlehem, PA, will offer what it’s calling a first-of-its-kind clinical guarantee on robot-assisted radical prostatectomies.

St. Luke’s and its urologic surgeons said they have developed and will adhere to a rigorous set of clinical guidelines for every surgery. If St. Luke’s and its surgeons do not follow these guidelines every time, or if a patient develops specific complications directly related to the robotic prostatectomy within 30 days of surgery, the patient and his insurance company will not be billed for services rendered, the hospital said.

The clinical guidelines were designed by St. Luke’s urologists Eric Mayer, MD, and Joseph Lennert, MD. Urologic surgeons at St. Luke’s have been performing minimally invasive robot-assisted surgery using the da Vinci Surgical System (Intuitive Surgical, Inc., Sunnyvale, CA) since 2003.

“St. Luke’s administration challenged us to develop a program that took ‘pay for performance’ to the next level, exceeding the standards for quality care that we are required to adhere to today,” Dr. Mayer said. “We believe that prostate surgery could be approached in a manner that combined our clinical expertise, our advanced technology, and our interest in adhering to clinical protocols in such a way as to offer an actual guarantee for services rendered.”

The urologists devised procedures to ensure steps would always be followed, regardless of which surgeon provided care.