Why One California County Went Surgery Shopping

Retiree Leslie Robinson-Stone and her husband enjoyed a weeklong, all-expenses-paid trip to a luxury resort — all thanks to the county she worked for.

The couple also received more than a thousand dollars in spending money and a personal concierge, who attended to their every need. For Santa Barbara County, it was money well spent: Sending Robinson-Stone 250 miles away for knee replacement surgery near San Diego saved the government $30,000.

“The only difference between our two hospitals is one is expensive and the other is exorbitant,” said Andreas Pyper, assistant director of human resources for Santa Barbara County, referring to the local options.

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