PHARMACY

Food Lion accepts FSA and HRA cards at checkout

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Food Lion has begun accepting Flexible Spending Account and Healthcare Reimbursement Account cards at cash registers.

The cards, which some companies offer employees, allow the deduction of the cost of some pharmacy and health-care items from shoppers’ bills. Items include hydrogen peroxide, anti-smoking aids, antibiotic ointments, asthma mists, contact lenses and prescription co-pays. The Internal Revenue Service determines which items qualify.

Food Lion is a subsidiary of Belgium-based Delhaize Group and operates about 1,300 stores in the South, as well as Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

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New pharmacy school to open in California

BY Alaric DeArment

RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. Classes will begin Aug. 25 at a new pharmacy college that just won approval from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.

The for-profit California Northstate College of Pharmacy describes itself as “dedicated to education, developing and training individuals to provide competent, patient-centered care” and hopes to become a top-tier school in 10 or fewer years.

It currently has two departments, one focusing on pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences and the other on clinical and administrative sciences, and lists 10 professors on its Web site.

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Web site offers patients information on meaning of lab work

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The American Association for Clinical Chemistry has created a nonprofit Web site called Lab Tests Online, which will offer patients easy access to detailed but consumer-friendly information on lab work and test results, according to Yahoo.

On the home page, users can seek out information on the why, when and how of about 250 of the most common lab tests; scroll through lay-term language explanations of a range of conditions and diseases; and review outlines for general screening protocols and recommendations according to patient age. The site also offers the latest news regarding lab test innovations.

In addition to providing links to other mostly governmental and non-commercial sites, patients can also pose specific questions to a volunteer staff of lab scientists—getting a response within 24 to 72 hours.

The site routinely experiences more than 1 million hits per month, and, by this fall, a total of 50 million visitors will be expected to have logged on for a free crash course on what a blood and fluid work-up really means

“Traditional lab medicine has been an invisible component of health care,” observed George Linzer, executive producer of the Web site. “But now we’re in a culture where the consumer is really taking more responsibility for their care,” added Linzer. “So, this Web site does just one thing: It focuses exclusively on providing up-to-date, evidence-based information on lab tests that’s been vetted by representatives from just about every major lab organization in the country. No other Web site does that.”

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