Cardinal Health bolsters clinic program

INDIANAPOLIS —Many industry observers may not be familiar with Corner Care Clinic, but that is likely to change as Cardinal Health has formed an alliance with, and is a minority investor in, the clinic operator.

Cardinal Health teamed up with Indianapolis-based clinic operator MindGent Healthcare Clinic’s Corner Care Clinic to open in October 2006 the first retail-based clinic. Today, there are 27 walk-in clinic locations.

Corner Care Clinic operates locations in Indiana, Ohio, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Illinois and New York.

The clinics are located within select Medicine Shoppe, Medicap and independent Leader pharmacies, as well as two Kerr Drug stores and, coming in September, two Drug Fair locations.

The goal: to open an additional six to 12 clinics by year’s end. Going forward, Corner Care Clinic would like to open between 60 and 100 clinics a year.

“When we first made the decision to throw our hat into the ring…we wanted to find a partner whom we felt shared the same vision and mission that we had,” health care veteran and president and chief executive officer of Corner Care Clinic, Julie Beckner, told Drug Store News.

Signifying not only a shift in the health care industry toward convenient health and wellness offerings, but also signifying the key role Corner Care Clinic will play in the Cardinal Health portfolio, Corner Care Clinic participated in the Cardinal Health Retail Business Conference held last month at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston.

As is common of the acute care retail clinic model, Corner Care Clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners that treat such common ailments as strep throat and pink eye, and also provide vaccinations, physicals and screenings for such conditions as diabetes and blood pressure. The average cost ranges between $55 and $75.

Aiming to educate its independent pharmacies on the opportunity, Cardinal Health introduced the clinics, as well as other offerings, at the 18th annual RBC. Touted as the latest addition to Leader Total Pharmacy Manager, Cardinal’s suite of services to help independent pharmacies bolster revenue and drive productivity, the in-store clinics provide yet another way for its retail pharmacy customers to expand their health care reach and better serve their communities. Currently, more than 3,000 independents are part of Cardinal’s Leader pharmacy network.

Meanwhile, Corner Care Clinic has been working to bolster its management team, last month announcing two key executive moves.

Assuming the role of corporate director of marketing for Corner Care Clinic is Mike Milakis. Previously, he served as owner, president and creative director for M&M Advertising for 11 years. During his career, Milakis has worked with more than 50 different hospital, insurance, pharmaceutical and health care-related clients, including Eli Lilly,I.U. Medical Center and University of Chicago Hospitals.

Corner Care Clinic also has promoted Mark Rollins to chief medical officer of the company. Previously, he served as Corner Care Clinic’s medical director.

Prior to joining Corner Care Clinic, Rollins, a board-certified physician, served as chief of medicine at Marion General Hospital in Marion, Ind.

In a recent interview with Drug Store News, Keith Cook, who joined Medicine Shoppe International in late 2006 as vice president of pharmacy solutions, said the partnership is important to Cardinal Health’s MSI division because there is a real “need in the community” for convenient and affordable acute care.

“There are some counties where there is not even a hospital within a 30-mile radius of our store. So ER visits are very difficult for some of our regular patients that we see every day. And there’s also the current health care situation in America. It isn’t easy to get in and get an appointment immediately when you need minor care. So the need was there, and it fit very nicely into our business model,” Cook said. “The reason we like [Corner Care Clinic] as a partner is that they do a very good job of working with the local physician community, and that was really important to us.”

Added Beckner, stressing the importance of working with the local medical community, “[Corner Care Clinics] addresses a real need, but we also are a physician advocate.”

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