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Kinn introduces products for administering pet meds

BY Alaric DeArment

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. — Anyone with pets knows that the challenge of getting them to swallow pills is up there with giving them baths.

One company has introduced a line of products designed to make the process easier. Kinn announced the launch of Kudose, which allows pills to be hidden inside homemade treats, and Krocodile, a pill splitter and crusher.

"We created Kinn to help people strengthen the relationship between pets and their families," Kinn CEO Alex McKinnon said. "We do this focusing on the health, wellness and happiness of dogs and cats. For our launch, we’ve tackled one of the most challenging aspects of caring for your pet — giving pills to cats and dogs — and created a safe way to split or crush pills, then turn them into delicious homemade cat and dog treats."


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Safeway’s Just for U loyalty platform, shopping app driving optimism at the chain

BY Michael Johnsen

PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway’s approach to multichannel retailing — a shopping app fielding personalized, targeted promotions to members of its growing Just for U loyalty program — represents the foundation for future growth, executives noted during a conference call with analysts Thursday morning.  

"There is a much greater propensity for people who have downloaded the app to become regular [loyalty] users," Safeway’s chairman and CEO Steve Burd told analysts. Burd even quantified that propensity — shoppers who downloaded Safeway’s shopping app were 30% more likely to  become regular loyalty users, or users who shop often and spend heavily, and spend between 40% and 50% more than consumers who access Safeway’s site from a desktop. Of the 4.5 million Just for U loyalty card holders to date, approximately 26% are considered regular users, Burd said. 

The Just for U program is expected to battle competitive threats from all quarters — other supermarket retailers, supercenters and retail pharmacy operators, Burd noted. "The effect of Just for U is to cause people to come to the store more often and to buy more when they’re there," he said. "People shop multiple channels. [The loyalty program] gives them an opportunity to consolidate more business with us."

Some of the points of differentiation that set Safeway’s Just for U loyalty program apart is the level of personalization, the level of predictive analysis of a shopper’s needs with the segmentation of products a consumer buys regularly from products that a consumer might buy regularly. Burd noted that more than 200 digital coupons are available on the Safeway shopping app. "[We have] virtually every coupon in the market digitized," he said. 

But the Just for U loyalty program and shopping app represent only one leg of a three-legged loyalty stool, Burd said. Safeway’s fuel program is the second leg and the third leg — a comprehensive wellness program — hasn’t even launched yet. "The upside for Just for U really lies ahead of us," Burd said. "Think of Just for U as a communications vehicle. It might be communicating what’s going on in wellness; it might be communicating what’s going on in the fuel program," he added. "It’s really our marketing platform for the next decade."

Safeway plans to launch a wellness platform in the fourth quarter, Burd noted during the conference call. "Wellness [will be] the biggest leg of the stool," he said. However, Burd held more definitive launch dates and specifics of the program close to the vest.

During a presentation at the Goldman Sachs 19th Annual Global Retailing Conference in September, Burd suggested that Safeway’s wellness program has been in development for more than two years now. "We are working with a partner who has innovative technology, so it’s not just us," he said last month. Safeway will pilot its wellness platform in one market in the fourth quarter and expects full rollout by the end of 2013. "When completed, the initiative is expected to deliver not only some strong IDs, but also a good margin and good income. And it should attract more people to our stores."

Sales and other revenue declined 0.2% to $10 billion in the third quarter ended Sept. 8, primarily due to the disposition of Genuardi’s stores and a lower Canadian exchange rate, partly offset by higher fuel sales, Safeway reported. Identical-store sales, excluding fuel, were up 0.1% for the quarter.

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Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals hears Medi-Cal reimbursement rate cut case

BY Antoinette Alexander

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A coalition — which includes the California Medical Association, the California Dental Association, California Pharmacists Association, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, California Association of Medical Product Suppliers, AIDS Healthcare Foundation and American Medical Response — continues to work to block the state of California from cutting Medi-Cal reimbursement rates by 10%.

“In January of this year, a federal court issued the decision to block California state officials from moving forward with a 10% cut to Medi-Cal payments,” stated James Hay, CMA president. “Judge Snyder’s ruling clearly indicated that California’s fiscal crisis does not outweigh the serious irreparable injury plaintiffs would suffer absent the issuance of an injunction.”
 
In spring of 2011, the California legislature passed, and Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 97, which included a 10% reimbursement rate cut for physicians, dentists, pharmacists and other Medi-Cal providers. Federal approval was required before the state could implement its proposed cuts.
 
Following the court’s ruling earlier this year, the state appealed Judge Christina Snyder’s decision, and the case was heard this week by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
 
"We urge the court to rule in favor of preserving patient access to pharmacy care," stated NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. "Many patients rely on services provided by community pharmacy, such as flu shots, medication counseling and health screenings. If implemented, the Medi-Cal cuts could compromise patient health and access to some of these pharmacy services, which would also drive up healthcare costs. Compromised care is not something patients should have to face when it comes to their health."
 
The plaintiffs in CMA et al. v. Douglas et al. stand by previous arguments that reducing payments in the Medi-Cal system will hugely impact access to care for patients who need it most.
 
“CDA has serious concerns about the state’s attempt to cut reimbursement rates, which would negatively impact patients and their ability to access care,” stated CDA president Dan Davidson. “Most adult Denti-Cal services have been eliminated, and the state’s effort to make further cuts to children’s services would be devastating to their oral health.”
 
Because California Medi-Cal rates are already extremely low and many prescription medications are reimbursed at breakeven rates, many providers cannot afford to participate. Kaiser State Health Facts lists California as the lowest reimbursed state in the nation.
 
“We expect the appeal to be met with the same verdict Judge Snyder handed down in January, which is to block the Medi-Cal reimbursement cuts,” stated Jon Roth, CPhA CEO. “It’s very clear that if the state moves forward with Medi-Cal payment cuts, access to care for patients is sure to worsen. Many pharmacists throughout the state will have no choice but to turn away new Medi-Cal patients or be forced to stop accepting Medi-Cal all together, which will end up sending California’s poorest, most vulnerable citizens to the hospital or emergency room for care. In the end, California will lose far more many than the projected savings from the cuts.”

The lawsuit was filed against the California Department of Health Care Services and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Nov. 21, 2011.
 
“Once again, California bureaucrats continue to try to balance the state budget on the backs of some of the poorest and most vulnerable Californians,” added Tom Myers, chief of Public Affairs and General Counsel for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “This is bad medicine and bad public policy, and we hope that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals finds likewise and upholds the federal court ruling from earlier this year blocking the proposed cuts."
 
“This lawsuit is about patient safety and not profits. EMS is the safety net for these vulnerable patients, and the state’s drastically low reimbursement for emergency ambulance services has resulted in layoffs of EMTs and paramedics, extended response times to medical emergencies and even delayed the implementation of new life-saving equipment and procedures,” added AMR’s Region CEO Tom Wagner.
 
CMA, CPhA and CDA successfully sued in the past to enjoin prior Medi-Cal cuts and expect to once again demonstrate that federal law, which ensures that Medi-Cal patients have equal access to health care, was not followed.
 
A ruling on the hearing is expected later this year or in early 2013.

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C.LEWIS says:
Apr-13-2013 01:31 am

One law suit was framed against North California Medical association as they wanted to cut the medical payments this year. This year in January federal court issued a notice to block California State from moving forward to decrease 10% payments as because they can't repay the serious repayable injuries caused due to issuance of an injunction. accident lawyers in virginia

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