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McKesson receives top award from nonprofit for promoting employee health

BY Jason Owen

SAN FRANCISCO — McKesson Corp. today announced that it received Platinum certification in the 2013 Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles award presented by the National Business Group on Health. McKesson was recognized for its ongoing commitment and dedication to promoting a healthy workplace and encouraging employees and families to pursue and maintain healthy lifestyles.

“McKesson is partnering with our customers to create a stronger, more sustainable healthcare system capable of delivering better care to patients," said Jerry Warren, Senior Vice President of Total Rewards, McKesson Corporation. “We believe our focus on employee health and wellness better prepares our teams to provide superior service to our customers and the millions of patients they serve. That’s why we provide our employees with the resources they need to help them be healthier and more productive.”

McKesson began its wellness journey more than five years ago, committing to provide employees customized benefits that are built on prevention and wellness. Under the program, McKesson provides employees with flexible tools and resources to enable them to monitor and improve their health and realize their full wellness potential. The program emphasizes preventive care, which has been covered 100 percent for several years, and online tools that provide easy access to personalized resources for employees and their families.

McKesson’s senior leaders have championed its wellness program as both a business strategy for health and productivity improvement and as a catalyst to increase employee engagement. Employees have embraced the initiative and are now averaging nearly 90 percent participation. Employees continue to increase their engagement in wellness throughout the benefit year. In 2012, 78 percent of McKesson employees completed three times as many wellness activities as a traditional program. Moreover, of that 78 percent, nearly half completed five times more wellness activities.

Formed in 1974, the National Business Group on Health is the nation’s only non-profit organization devoted exclusively to representing large employers’ perspectives on national health policy issues and providing practical solutions to its members’ most important health care problems. The group’s members are primarily Fortune 500 companies and large public-sector employers — including the nation’s most innovative health care purchasers — who provide health care coverage for more than 50 million U.S. workers, retirees and their families.

“We are proud to honor McKesson for its ongoing commitment to providing lifestyle improvement programs that encourage healthy lifestyles for their employees,” said Helen Darling, President and CEO of the National Business Group on Health. “McKesson is among an elite group of organizations that are leading the way to promoting healthy workplaces and lifestyles. McKesson and its management team should be proud of their commitment to their program and we congratulate them on receiving this award.”

Since 2004, the Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles awards program has rewarded those organizations that have found creative solutions to advancing the well-being of employees. The program serves as a means of sharing successful interventions, programs and services, and illustrates best practices that can be emulated by other members.


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New pneumococcal vaccine as safe as previous version, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

PASADENA, Calif. — A new vaccine against pneumococcal disease appears as safe as an older one, according to a new study.

The study, conducted by Kaiser Permanente and published Wednesday in the journal Vaccine, compared the new 13-valent vaccine with the seven-valent one used before 2010. The Food and Drug Administration approved the newer vaccine, called PCV13, in 2010 after a series of trials. The valent number refers to the number of varieties of pneumococcal disease the vaccine prevents.

Researchers for Kaiser Permanente analyzed electronic medical records for 600,000 children aged 1 month to 2 years who received PCV13 over a two-year period, finding no increased risk of harmful side effects in children taking the new vaccine compared with those taking the older vaccine. Funding for the study came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"It is important that children receive the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine as it provides protection against very serious and potentially fatal infections, including meningitis and bloodstream infections," lead study author Hung Fu Tseng said. "The new vaccine protects against an additional six types of pneumococcal bacteria."


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CMS decision on diabetes-testing supplies would disrupt care, members of Congress say

BY Alaric DeArment

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Several members of Congress are requesting that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reverse a decision to prohibit independent pharmacies from delivering diabetes-testing supplies to homebound seniors.

In a letter to CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner, Reps. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., Peter Welch, D-Vt., and others asked the agency to reconsider the decision, which affects Medicare Part B beneficiaries, saying it would cause disruption in care if implemented in July. Many Part B beneficiaries who need the testing supplies are homebound or in long-term care centers and may not have access to a caregiver who can pick them up at the pharmacy for them. The representatives cited a recent survey finding that 91% of all pharmacies have some form of home delivery of diabetes-testing supplies, and 45% of them deliver the supplies to assisted-living facilities.

"Community pharmacists pride themselves on the superlative level of care that they offer Medicare beneficiaries and all of their patients," CEO B. Douglas Hoey of independent pharmacy trade group the National Community Pharmacists Association said. "That superior level of service is embodied by such unique offerings such as same-day home delivery, which the vast majority of independent community pharmacies offer."

 

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