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The Economist: Expect major growth, competition for retail clinics, urgent care and telehealth

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — Retail-based health clinics, urgent care clinics, telehealth and traditional physicians may be increasingly competing to serve the healthcare needs of Americans but the real winner is the patient, suggests a recent article in The Economist.

The “Medicine at the mall” article reports on the fact that Walgreens announced today that it has expanded its scope of services in its Take Care Clinics to manage chronic conditions — a move that is part of a bigger trend in Obamacare.

“Retail clinics got a bumpy start, thanks to slim margins and erratic seasonal revenue — fewer coughs mean less money. But volume has grown. According to RAND, a think-tank, the number of visits to retail clinics grew fourfold between 2007 and 2009. This looks set to rise again, as clinics expand in number and in scope,” the article states.

The article also discusses the fact that CVS Caremark and its MinuteClinic business are increasingly affiliating with broader healthcare systems and Advocare Walgreens Well Network, Diagnostic Clinic Walgreens Well Network and Scott & White Walgreens Well Network have been selected as three of 106 new Accountable Care Organizations in Medicare.

“Retail health clinics must compete not just with these doctors, but with urgent-care centers and, eventually, telemedicine and mobile health gadgets. No one knows which models will prove most popular. But as they compete, patients are likely to win,” The Economist article states.

To read the entire article, click here.
 

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Dementia costs more to treat than heart disease or cancer, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — The annual cost of treating dementia in the United States ranges from $157 billion to $215 billion, according to a new study by the RAND Corp.

The research organization said that number meant dementia costs more to treat than cancer or heart disease, with the greatest cost coming from institutional and home-based long-term care, as opposed to medical services.

The study appeared in the April 4 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine and was funded by the National Institute on Aging, using data from the Health and Retirement Study, which receives support from the National Institute on Aging and the Social Security Administration. The Health and Retirement Study is an ongoing study of people ages 51 years and older that began in 1992.

"The economic burden of caring for people in the United States with dementia is large and growing larger," lead study author and RAND Corp. senior economist Michael Hurd said. "Our findings underscore the urgency of recent federal efforts to develop a coordinated plan to address the growing impact of dementia on American society."

The organization said the new study provides a clearer idea of the disease’s economic burden because it eliminates costs related to other illnesses that affect dementia patients, accounts for variations in the severity of dementia and uses a better estimate of the incidence of the disease, thus providing a lower cost estimate than those reported by the Alzheimer’s Association.

According to estimates in the study, 14.7% of Americans ages 71 years and older suffered from dementia in 2010, a smaller number than those in older and smaller studies, and the total economic cost was estimated at $109 billion for care purchased, a figure that increased to between $159 billion and $215 billion when the monetary value of informal care was included. Medicare paid about $11 billion of dementia-related costs, which were estimated at between $41,689 and $56,290 per person.

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Allergy Relief 2013

BY DSN STAFF

The March/April 2013 Allergy Relief Ingredient Guide breaks down the indication, ingredients, purpose and dosage of Claritin-D, Allegra-D, Zyrtec-D, Benadryl-D, Advil Allergy and Congestion Relief, UrgentRx Allergy Attack, Hyland’s Seasonal Allergy Relief, Similasan’s Nasal Allergy Relief and Boiron’s Sabadil.

Click here for the complete guide.

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