Kroger’s Kwik Shop breaks ground on Rx
WICHITA, Kan. —Another of Kroger’s convenience store holdings is about to wade into the retail prescription business. And the latest incursion could go beyond the small-scale test stage.
Hutchinson, Kansas-based Kwik Shop has begun expanding two of its convenience stores in the Wichita market to accommodate both pharmacies and a larger fresh-foods selection. The stores reportedly will reopen in May, at which time each will include a drive-through pharmacy staffed by professionals from another division of Kroger: the Dillon supermarket chain.
Both Dillon and Kwik Shop operate in the same Midwestern region, but the addition of a pharmacy will be a first for Kwik Shop, and a rare occurrence for any U.S. c-store chain. The move follows the opening in 2007 of a prescription center in one c-store operated by Tom Thumb—another Kroger banner—in Pensacola, Fla.
Neither Kwik Shop president Jeff Parker nor sources at Kroger could be immediately reached for comment. However, Parker described the move into pharmacies as an added convenience for Kwik Shop customers in an interview with The Wichita Eagle, indicating that it was based on the “definite success” of the Tom Thumb pharmacy in Florida. Parker also told the newspaper that the c-store chain might consider adding more pharmacies in Kansas in the future, “to fill in spots where customers might not have easy access to a pharmacy.”
Virginia lawmakers move to block plan for mandated health coverage
WASHINGTON In an act of defiance against the Obama administration’s plan for healthcare reform, the Virginia legislature this week moved to block a provision in that plan that would mandate that Americans obtain health insurance.
Health reform opponents on Thursday applauded the move, which came Tuesday when the Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill that would make it illegal to require individuals to purchase health insurance. The measure already passed the state Senate and is headed to the desk of Governor Bob McDonnell, who is expected to sign the bill into law.
That will make Virginia “the first state to protect its citizens from a federal government mandate to obtain health insurance,” according to a conservative advocacy group called Americans for Prosperity, which has bitterly opposed efforts by Democrats to reform the U.S. health system. The group also claims that a total of 37 states are considering some form of “health care freedom act.”
The White House, for its part, has long proposed some form of mandated coverage for all Americans as a means of holding down insurance costs and ensuring that healthier Americans are also included in insurance pools. Under the Obama administration’s proposal, however, much of the cost of individual coverage could be defrayed or offset by tax cuts or other financial help for individuals who can’t afford the costs of coverage.
Home health specialist Carex launches online membership program for patients
OAKLAND, Calif. A company that makes in-home health products has launched a section on its Web site for elderly people and their caregivers.
Carex Health Brands announced Thursday the launch of Carex Care Connection, at carex.com. The site allows users to share stories and find discounts and giveaways on Carex products, which include products for mobility, bathroom safety, personal care and daily living aids, pain management and others.
“Our team at Carex Health Brands genuinely cares about the welfare of seniors,” Carex VP marketing Nathalie Kim said in a statement. “In addition to our efforts to create the most innovative and quality products in the in-home health category, we want to connect directly with caregivers and the senior community.”