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Kroger Named to Dow Jones Sustainability Index

BY Jason Owen

CINCINNATI — The Kroger Co. on Friday announced its inaugural listing on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index-North America.

The Dow Jones Sustainability Index-North America tracks the economic, environmental and social sustainability performance of the top 20% of the 600 largest North America-based companies in the Dow Jones Global Total Stock Market Index.

"Inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index is an important mile marker and a sign of real progress for Kroger," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s president and chief operating officer. "While we take great pride in the strides we have made to reduce our impact on the environment and to operate as good stewards in our communities, we have more work to do. We intend to continue pursuing our long-term sustainability goals with enthusiasm and determination."

Learn more about Kroger’s sustainability progress and download the full 2013 sustainability report at www.kroger.com/sustainability.

Highlights of Kroger’s Sustainability Progress

Kroger is Feeding the Hungry. Kroger’s number one community priority is to support organizations that bring food and hope to our hungry neighbors. A founding partner of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger agency, Kroger worked with more than 80 local food banks in 2012 to donate the equivalent of 200 million meals.

Moving toward the EPA’s Zero Waste threshold of 90%, in all Kroger retail locations. To get there, Kroger will increase the diversion rate to 65% for all stores by the end of 2013, and to 70% by the end of 2015. Today, the company diverts 58% of waste.

Kroger is Reducing its Carbon Footprint. Kroger’s aggressive work to reduce energy, the implementation of a refrigerant management plan and improved fleet productivity has led to a 4.8% reduction in overall carbon footprint – even as the company grows in size and sales.

Kroger is Creating Jobs. The company has created more than 33,000 jobs since 2007.


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Reports: Nevada, 12 other states report increases in whooping cough

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — More than a dozen states have reported increases in whooping cough, also known as pertussis, according to published reports.

Based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that increases in the disease had been reported in 13 states as of Sept. 15, compared with the same period last year. Overall, 16,000 cases have been reported nationwide, though there were nearly 42,000 reported last year, considered the worst year for the disease in 60 years.

Whooping cough, which is highly contagious and results from bacteria, is a vaccine-preventable disease, and the Review-Journal quoted health officials in Nevada as saying that they had been "working hard" to get children immunized. Nevada has reported 138 cases as of this month, 46 more than in 2012 and 104 more than in 2011, according to the newspaper.


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CVS Caremark officially announces opening of first MinuteClinic in Hawaii

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark’s MinuteClinic on Thursday officially announced the opening of its first walk-in medical clinic in Hawaii at the Longs Drug store on South King Street in Honolulu near the University of Hawaii, Manoa.

It is the first of seven MinuteClinic locations to open inside select Longs Drug stores on Oahu in the next two weeks. Additional clinics will serve patients in Aiea, Hawaii Kai, Kailua, Kaneohe, Kapolei and Waialae, the company stated.

To celebrate the opening, Hawaii Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, Hawaii House of Representatives Health Committee Chair Della Au Belatti and City and County of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell will join MinuteClinic and Longs Drug officials at Thursday’s grand opening event that includes a traditional maile lei untying and blessing ceremony.

Longs Drug stores are owned and operated by CVS/pharmacy. MinuteClinic chief medical officer Nancy Gagliano said Hawaii’s Longs locations are an important milestone in MinuteClinic’s national expansion plan to open 150 clinics nationwide in 2013.

"We are thrilled to bring MinuteClinic to Hawaii – our first new state in five years and the first of three new states in 2013," stated Gagliano.  "We believe MinuteClinic can be part of the solution to help broaden access to high quality, convenient and affordable healthcare services on Oahu."

CVS Caremark is the exclusive provider of PBM services for HMSA, Hawaii’s Blue Cross Blue Shield Association licensee. Since the relationship between CVS Caremark and HMSA began in January 2013, HMSA has been a strong advocate for bringing MinuteClinic to Hawaii.

"The opening of MinuteClinic locations in Hawaii is another concrete example of the commitment CVS Caremark has to both our membership and the community at large," stated Michael Stollar, HMSA SVP of integrated health development. "We are excited to welcome MinuteClinic to the islands and believe their convenient services such as vaccinations, screenings and monitoring of chronic conditions such as diabetes, can help support primary care providers in Hawaii in their mission to keep their patients healthy."

MinuteClinic is committed to helping patients find a medical home, and believes it can play a complementary role as part of the medical home team, according to Gagliano.

"About 50% of our visits occur on evenings, weekends and holidays when patients may not be able to get an appointment with their primary care provider," stated Gagliano. "And about half of the patients we see, do not have a physician, due in large part to the severe shortage of primary care doctors in the U.S. We expect the same patterns in Hawaii."

Patients who visit MinuteClinic without a PCP are provided a list of physicians in the area who are accepting new patients, Gagliano said.


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