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Bashas’ looks to expand employee base

BY Alaric DeArment

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Despite its long history of troubles, things appear to be looking up for regional supermarket chain Bashas’.

Bashas’, which operates more than 130 stores in Arizona, California and New Mexico under the Bashas’, Food City and AJ’s Fine Foods banners, announced plans Thursday for job fairs in Arizona — including in Phoenix, West Phoenix, Mesa and Tucson — where it will hire 400 new employees.

Bashas’ spokeswoman Kristy Neid told Drug Store News that sales and customer counts lately had been increasing.

“Since our company was reorganized, our business has turned around,” Neid said. “We’ve streamlined our operations, improved our offerings and have become more price-competitive.”

The company filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 in 2009 and was forced to close more than a dozen stores, though it rejected a $290 million buyout offer from Supervalu banner Albertsons in February 2010.

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Retail clinics level playing field in healthcare system

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The emergence of the reports by Kalorama Information and Rasmussen Reports are important because they underscore the important role that retail-based healthcare clinics — and the nurse practitioners who work within them — increasingly play in the nation’s healthcare system.

(THE NEWS: Kalorama projects retail clinic growth. For the full story, click here)

(THE NEWS: Most U.S. voters believe an expanded role for nurse practitioners will boost quality of health care. For the full story, click here)

As reported, independent healthcare market research firm Kalorama Information expected retail-based health clinics to continue to grow and to become a durable part of the healthcare system. Kalorama Information was certain to note that the growth comes despite such hurdles as a fragile economy and some state regulatory hurdles, at the behest of physician lobbies.

Furthermore, the findings of a new Rasmussen Reports survey found that most U.S. voters believed that the quality of health care would improve if routine care was handled by nurse practitioners and physicians then were able to focus on more challenging healthcare issues. Many survey respondents were in favor of training and licensing nurse practitioners to expand the level of care they provide.

These findings come as 2011 marks the beginning of the second wave of clinic expansion.

New healthcare legislation that will afford some 30 million uninsured people health insurance — coupled with the aging U.S. population and a shortage of primary care physicians — will benefit the convenient care industry and undoubtedly drive industry growth.

Not only are health systems all across the country becoming more engaged, but also clinic operators are gearing up the wave of expansion. For example, MinuteClinic plans to open more clinics at a rate of about 100 clinics per year, beginning this year. By 2015, MinuteClinic estimated it will operate about 1,060 clinics in 100 markets.

In December 2010, RedlClinic announced plans open 20 new clinics in H-E-B stores across Texas, nearly doubling the number of clinics operating within select H-E-B locations.

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RediClinic’s weight-loss program builds on current convenient care offerings

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — With more than two-thirds of Americans either overweight or obese, weight management undoubtedly is a critical health issue facing the nation. And the news that RediClinic now is offering a weight-management program speaks to a larger trend with the convenient care industry: expanding service offerings beyond acute care, which includes, for some operators, tools to tackle obesity.

(THE NEWS: RediClinic introduces Weigh Forward. For the full story, click here)

RediClinic is launching as of May 16 its new Weigh Forward medically supervised program for weight management. The 10-week program was developed in partnership with weight-loss expert David Katz, and will be available at all 29 RediClinic locations inside H-E-B stores in Houston, Austin and San Antonio.

While RediClinic is the latest clinic operator to announce plans to help consumers tackle obesity, it isn’t the first. In 2006, Lindora Clinic partnered with Rite Aid to open the first retail-based health clinic to offer clinically supervised treatment for weight management. The Lindora Health Clinic focuses on weight-loss and wellness services in the Southern California area, and there currently are more than a half dozen locations.

Meanwhile, The Little Clinic announced in December 2010 the appointment of Eileen Myers as director of prevention and health management to lead health-and-wellness initiatives, as well as to oversee the rollout of an expanded scope of services for the company. Myers previously worked as a private practice dietitian, counseling patients with weight and eating disorder issues. She also has been a consultant, providing motivational interviewing and behavior change strategy expertise for business and industry organizations. Prior to her appointment, Myers worked closely with The Little Clinic for three years as a consultant on scope of services and SmartPath Prevention Programs.

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