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Family Dollar Stores offer eco-friendly firelogs

BY Jason Owen

ATLANTA — Select Family Dollar Stores will carry an environmentally friendly, individually-sold 3-lb firelog by Enviro-Log, the company stated.

"Family Dollar customers will appreciate the convenience and performance of our 3-lb firelogs, which burn cleaner and hotter than firewood," said Ross McRoy, president of Enviro-Log. "We are thrilled that Family Dollar customers can now take advantage of these environmentally friendly firelogs, as each Enviro-Log provides warmth and comfort for hours at a time."

Enviro-Log uses 100% recycled waxed cardboard — typically used to transport fruits and vegetables to produce processors, grocery stores and restaurants — to manufacture its earth-friendly firelogs. When compared to firewood, Enviro-Log Firelogs burn cleaner, emitting 30% less greenhouse gases, 80% less carbon dioxide and 86% less creosote, while also providing 50% more heat per pound.

Enviro-Log Firelogs can be stored and burned in all weather conditions and are safe to cook over. Enviro-Log Firelogs also are tested safe for use in chimineas, campfires, outdoor tailgating and cookout events. The ash from Enviro-Log Firelogs can even be used as fertilizer or potting soil.

Enviro-Log is an eco-friendly, consumer products and recycling company known for the greenest, most versatile firelogs on the market.


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Target price matches online retailers

BY Alaric DeArment

MINNEAPOLIS — Target Corp. has launched a campaign to price match online retailers, the mass-merchandise retailer said Tuesday.

The Minneapolis-based retailer said it planned to price match online retailers like Amazon.com, Walmart.com, BestBuy.com and Toysrus.com year-round; Target stores would also price match items on the company’s own website.

Under the policy, if a customer buys a qualifying item at a Target store and then finds the same item for less in the following week’s circular or within seven days on one of the online retailers or a competitors printed ad, Target will match the price.

"Guests can confidently shop at Target every day for the best value in retail," Target president, chairman and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said. "We know that our guests often compare prices online. With our new price-match policy and the additional 5% savings guests receive when they use their REDcard, Target provides an unbeatable value."


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Telemedicine trend gets a boost in Congress

BY Jim Frederick

Widespread reliance on telemedicine to electronically deliver health and pharmacy services to hard-to-reach patients in remote locations is getting closer to reality. And in a fast-evolving health care system struggling to improve access to health services at a lower overall cost, that’s a good thing.

The potential breakthrough for remote-site dispensing and health counseling came in the U.S. House of Representatives. California Democrat Mike Thompson is sponsoring legislation that would eliminate barriers to telemedicine services for all federal health programs.

The so-called Telehealth Promotion Act would effectively allow Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Department of Veterans Affairs and federal employee health plans to provide medical benefits to an estimated 75 million beneficiaries where needed, far from any actual pharmacy or clinic. Through those systems, pharmacists and other health providers could dispense prescriptions and real-time counseling or diagnostics to patients in real time, via remote-site kiosks equipped with two-way video communications and other technologies.

Thompson’s bill would also use financial incentives to encourage hospitals to use telemedicine to lower patients’ readmission rates, and allow accountable care organizations to use telemedicine as a substitute for in-person care.

American Telemedicine Association CEO Jonathan Linkous, called the bill “a major step forward in congressional support for telemedicine,” and is urging supporters to work for its passage.

Pharmacy operators like Thrifty White – which serves hundreds of thousands of customers in far-flung locations across a huge swath of the country’s upper Midwest region – have offered remote-site prescription dispensing and telemedicine services for years. It’s allowed those pharmacy providers to reach patients far from a brick-and-mortar store with pharmacy services, using either a kiosk or a pharmacy technician linked in real time via a live monitor to a pharmacist at a “hub” location.

Advances in mobile health applications for computers, remote-site kiosks and smart phones have accelerated the trend, extending the ability of pharmacies and other health providers to reach patients where they live and work.

It remains to be seen how big a role telemedicine will play in the health care system’s campaign to bring services within easier reach of patients in small towns, rural communities and other areas without easy access to a pharmacy, nurse of primary care physician. But the need for such solutions seems clear and compelling, especially in light of the consolidation of retail pharmacy locations, the disappearance of many family-owned small-town drug stores, and the growing national shortage of primary-care doctors.

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