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Diabetes Research Institute Foundation and Walgreens to host 6th annual DRI Walk

BY Michael Johnsen

MIAMI – The Diabetes Research Institute Foundation and Walgreens are teaming up again for the 6th annual DRI Walk for Diabetes & Family Fun Day Saturday, March 5, 2016 at Marlins Park in Miami, the organizations announced Thursday. This family event – which has helped raise more than $1.5 million toward the cure-focused work of the DRI to date – has become one of South Florida's premier walks and 5k/10k runs and is expected to attract more than 10,000 people.
 
"The prevalence of diabetes continues to grow at epidemic proportions with more than 29.1 million people affected in the U.S., and about 10% of people affected right here in Miami-Dade County, many of whom are our customers and patients," stated Roy Ripak, regional VP for Walgreens. "Walgreens is committed to helping people get, stay and live well. Together we can help raise awareness and critical funding to support the mission of the Diabetes Research Institute." 
 
Participants will enjoy a day of activities focused on health and fitness for the whole family, plus outdoor games, bounce houses, face painting, live music, health booths and giveaways. Also happening that morning is the DRIHope4aCure 5K/10K Run & Kids' Fun Run, where kids are encouraged to dress up as their favorite super heroes and help battle this growing disease.
 
This annual event is supported each year by fundraising teams of families affected by diabetes, individuals, companies, Walgreens employees and customers; volunteers, corporate sponsors, and media partners. Top sponsors include, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Island Planet, Red Bull, Frito-Lay, Comcast, Clear Channel Outdoor, Noi Caffe, OmniPod and Chelly Cosmetics.
 
 

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NACDS will award two $300,000 requests-for-proposals to improve vaccination rates

BY Michael Johnsen

ARLINGTON, Va. – The National Association of Chain Drug Stores on Thursday announced a request-for-proposals that will result in up to two awards of $300,000 each for demonstration projects designed to foster healthcare collaboration across the care continuum and to increase pharmacy-based immunizations.
 
“Health authorities have credited pharmacies for improving the accessibility of immunizations, in times of public health emergencies and in meeting ongoing health needs,” stated Steven Anderson, NACDS president and CEO. “This RFP is designed to drive population health by leveraging and magnifying the success of accessible, pharmacy-based immunizations in collaboration with other healthcare professionals for the good of patients nationwide.”
 
According to the project goals described in the RFP, successful applicants will develop and implement a value-based payment model that is scalable and replicable, and that results in improved immunization rates for a targeted population that are recorded within the appropriate state-based registry. The models also will feature innovative methods for sharing immunization information among the participating health plans or systems, accountable care organizations, community pharmacies and patients. The awardees will collaborate with public health agencies to improve pandemic vaccine preparedness.
 
The demonstration projects that are the subject of the RFP are intended to contribute to the fulfillment of the objectives behind an $800,000 grant to NACDS from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Specifically, the two-year grant from the CDC to NACDS is intended to examine innovative healthcare collaborations designed to demonstrate increased rates of pharmacy-based immunizations including influenza, pneumococcal, pertussis and herpes zoster. The grant also focuses on improving pandemic planning among pharmacies and state health departments, in addition to improving access to HPV vaccine resources and education for pharmacists.
 
Applicants must indicate via email by March 4, 2016, their intent to apply, and responses to the RFP are due April 1, 2016. NACDS anticipates that notification of awardees will occur on April 29, 2016. The project end date is August 31, 2017.
 
NACDS is making available for potential applicants an optional conference call on Feb. 23, 2016, at 4 p.m. EST, during which questions will be answered to aid in the development of proposals. 
 
State-by-state expansion of pharmacists’ vaccination authority has emerged as a pivotal public-private health trend over the past decade. In October 2009, Maine became the 50th state to enact legislation allowing pharmacists to administer the flu vaccine. In May 2015, Georgia became the 50th state in which legislation was enacted to allow pharmacists to administer three adult vaccines, adding pharmacists’ vaccination authority for pneumococcal and herpes zoster to their existing vaccination authority for influenza.
 
 
 

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Avalere study: Medicare should encourage wider adult vaccination coverage

BY David Salazar

WASHINGTON — Avalere Health on Thursday released the results of its analysis of barriers to increasing vaccination rates, particularly among Medicare beneficiares. The company found that only about 12% of enrollees on Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans were eligible to receive 10 recommended vaccines with no out-of-pocket costs — an increase over last year, when just 5% could get them without a co-pay. 
 
“Rates of vaccine-preventable illnesses are particularly high among older adults,” Avalere SVP Caroline Pearson said. “While most private insurance plans are now required to cover recommended vaccines at no cost to the patient, very few Medicare beneficiaries enjoy this same level of coverage.” 
 
Avalere looked at coverage trends in the last five years for 10 vaccines with age-specific recommendations for seniors or for which seniors were a target population: Boostrix (for Tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis); zoster vaccine Zostavax, varicella vaccine Varivax; meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine Menomune; Havrix and Vaqta for hepatitis A; Hepa, hepatitis B vaccines Energix-B and Recombivax-HB; hepatitis A and B recombinant vaccine Twinrix; and Tenivac for tetanus and dipthereia. 
 
Avalere also noted that 80% to 90% of Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans had a fixed-dollar co-pay for the vaccines, higher than the 47% to 72% among standalone prescription drug plans. 
 
“Medicare has an opportunity to encourage broader use of these vaccines through expanded coverage,” Avalere president Dan Mendelson said. “Options like including vaccine access in the existing star ratings program may encourage more Medicare insurers to cover vaccines at no cost to the patient.”

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