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Kroger highlights sustainability programs

BY Alaric DeArment

CINCINNATI — Kroger is hoping to achieve a government-supported "zero waste" threshold, and will be about three-quarters of the way there within two years, the supermarket operator said Wednesday.

The company said it was moving toward the Environmental Protection Agency’s zero-waste threshold of having 90% of its waste diverted away from landfills at all locations, diverting 58% of its waste already and hoping to increase that to 65% by the end of the year and 70% by the end of 2015.

That commitment is part of the company’s broader sustainability initiative, which also includes using 100% sustainable palm oil by the end of 2015.

"For 130 years, Kroger has aimed to serve each individual customer every day and to be good stewards of our communities and the environment," Kroger chairman and CEO David Dillon said. "Our sustainability progress today is part of this proud heritage, thanks to more than 343,000 associates who are helping make each community we serve a better place to live."

Other parts of the initiative include reducing the amount of greenhouse gases emitted, reducing energy consumption and improving transportation efficiency. The company is also working with such groups as Feeding America to donate to food banks, helping customers support various causes and reducing accident rates, as well as investing in underserved communities and promoting supplier diversity.

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McKesson Total Payment 5.1 includes payment-integrity protection

BY Alaric DeArment

NEWTON, Mass. — The latest version of a software package made by McKesson for payers allows for innovative payment strategies while supporting detection of waste, fraud and abuse, the company said.

McKesson announced the launch of Total Payment 5.1, saying it was part of a broader effort to help payers and healthcare providers navigate healthcare reform. Enhancements in the new version of the software will help payers more easily collaborate with providers in the transition to value-based reimbursement strategies like bundled payments for episodes of care, the company said.

"Payers are looking for flexible solutions that allow them to test and scale new reimbursement methods consistent with healthcare reform initiatives," McKesson Health Solutions associate VP Mike Flanagan said. "At the same time, they understand that fee-for-service payment will continue to be part of the reimbursement equation for the foreseeable future."

Improved payment integrity is another enhancement to the program. The latest version integrates InvestiClaim, which can help users address the challenge to detect waste, fraud and abuse as payment complexity increases and the healthcare industry transitions to a new standard, known as ICD-10.

 

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FDA approves Astellas drug for fungal infections in children

BY Alaric DeArment

NORTHBROOK, Ill. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug made by Astellas Pharma for treating fungal infections in children.

Astellas announced the approval of Mycamine (micafungin sodium) injection for children ages 4 months and older with various infections caused by Candida fungus, the same fungus that causes athlete’s foot, and also to prevent Candida infections in patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplants. The new uses for the drug were approved under a supplemental new drug application, or sNDA, as the drug itself is already approved and on the market.

"We are pleased with FDA’s approval of Mycamine for use in pediatric patients 4 months and older," Astellas chief medical officer Sef Kurstjens said. "This expanded indication supports the safety and efficacy of Mycamine and delivers on our mission to provide treatments that can help to improve patient care."

 

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