Business Group Press Release

National Business Group on Health Recognizes Walmart, Inc. with 2019 Helen Darling Award for Excellence in Health Care Value and Innovation

April 11, 2019
For more information contact:
Ed Emerman

WASHINGTON, DC, April 11, 2019 – The National Business Group on Health today honored Walmart, Inc. with its prestigious Helen Darling Award for Excellence in Health Care Value and Innovation. Walmart where Save Money Live Better is the cornerstone of their strategy is being recognized for their efficient and cost-effective use of health care resources, while prioritizing the employee health care experience and creating sustainable and high value programs.

“We commend Walmart for their innovative approaches aimed at delivering high quality and affordable health care for its associates and their families,” said Brian Marcotte, NBGH President and CEO. “Walmart is truly a trailblazer. Their commitment to develop initiatives that improve health care value, efficiency, employee engagement and health outcomes makes Walmart the ideal recipient for this year’s award.”

Among the initiatives Walmart has developed to warrant recognition includes: 

  • Created a custom Centers of Excellence network to deliver the highest quality care to associates and their families. In 2012, building on its experience with a long-term relationship with the Mayo Clinic for organ transplants, Walmart developed similar arrangements with other providers for an expanded set of conditions. Walmart launched its heart and spine surgery programs in 2013, joint hip and knee replacement surgery in 2014, certain cancer evaluations in 2015, and bariatric, or weight loss, surgery in 2016. 
  • Launched 8 direct contracting Accountable Care Organization relationships with hospitals and health systems in select markets. Beginning in 2016 Walmart added accountable care plans, or ACPs, to the medical benefits from which associates can choose. ACPs cover many medical services. ACP members also have access to Walmart’s Centers of Excellence program.
  • Managing ever-challenging prescription drug utilization by leveraging plan design to optimize how high-cost specialty drugs are delivered and paid for and developing programs that address co-pay assistance.

“On behalf of the entire Business Group and Board of Directors, we congratulate Walmart and their leadership team for their commitment to improving health care quality and outcomes for Walmart’s associates, and setting a great example for other employers,” said Tracy Kofski, chair of the board of the National Business Group on Health. 

Walmart received the award at the National Business Group on Health’s annual Business Health Agenda conference held April 10-12 in Washington, DC.  The award was presented to Lisa Woods, Senior Director Health Care Benefits, at Walmart.


About the Helen Darling Award for Excellence in Health Care Value and Innovation

The Helen Darling Award for Excellence in Health Care Value and Innovation recognizes outstanding employers, executives, or programs that encourage the efficient and cost-effective use of health care resources and have a demonstrated track record of controlling health care costs while ensuring employees and their families receive high-quality care.


About the National Business Group on Health®

The National Business Group on Health is the nation's only non-profit organization devoted exclusively to representing large employers' perspective on national health policy issues and helping companies optimize business performance through health improvement, innovation and health care management. The Business Group’s mission is to keep its membership on the leading edge of innovation, thinking and action to address health care cost and the delivery, financing, affordability and consumer experience with the health care system.  Business Group members, which include 75 Fortune 100 companies, provide health coverage for more than 50 million U.S. workers, retirees and their families. For more information, visit

LinkedIn Twitter