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MinuteClinic’s latest affiliation highlights growing need for medical homes

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The news that CVS Caremark’s MinuteClinic has entered into a clinical affiliation with Advocate Health Care and Advocate Physician Partners is important as it reflects a larger focus within the U.S. healthcare landscape: medical homes, or for a growing number of Americans, the lack thereof.

(THE NEWS: MinuteClinic enters clinical affiliation with Advocate Health Care, Advocate Physician Partners. For the full story, click here)

Physicians affiliated with Advocate Physician Partners will serve as medical directors for MinuteClinic’s 23 locations in the Chicago metro area and in Bloomington, Ill. In addition, MinuteClinic and Advocate Health Care will collaborate on patient education and disease management initiatives and will inform patients of the services each offers.

Important, Advocate Physician Partners physicians also will, where appropriate, accept patients who need a higher level of care than MinuteClinic can provide.

In other words, this collaboration allows Advocate physicians to provide a medical home for those patients who seek care at MinuteClinic and do not have a relationship with a physician.

Establishing a medical home for patients who do not have a primary care physician is critical and clearly represents a significant opportunity for retail-based clinics.

According to Deloitte’s "2010 Survey of Health Care Consumers Key Findings, Strategic Implications," more than half of the uninsured (57%) do not have a primary care physician; 85% cite cost and/or coverage as reasons. The uninsured are more likely than the insured to use a retail clinic to save time (34% vs. 28%) or money (45% vs. 32%).

The need to establish medical homes increasingly is becoming clear and it is not going unnoticed as the convenient care industry has increasingly seen the formation of such affiliations as that of MinuteClinic and Advocate.

Expect to see even more going forward.

In an earlier interview, Ken Berndt, director of FastCare, told Drug Store News that he believed much of the growth going forward will stem from hospital systems jumping aboard the clinic bandwagon.

"Hospital systems are continuing to look to expand the medical home and retail clinics are a large contribution to expanding the medical home for the primary care groups in health systems," Berndt said. "I think you are going to see health systems do the bulk of the growth."

Bellin Health Systems established the FastCare brand of retail health clinics in 2006.

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JEngdahlJ says:
Apr-18-2011 07:30 pm

Medical homes face a public awareness problem. The solution? Scenarios that work. http://www.healthcaretownhall.com/?p=2880

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Rite Aid’s Wellness+ program could keep retailer in race

BY Alaric DeArment

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — It’s interesting how things can change over the course of a year, and the huge growth of Rite Aid’s Wellness+ program provides a good example.

(THE NEWS: Rite Aid finishes tough fiscal year, but Q4 shows improvements. For the full story, click here.)

During a conference call last March, John Standley, the company’s president and COO at the time, called the then-new Wellness+ program the largest marketing expenditure Rite Aid had made in several years. In test markets, he said, more than 50% of front-end sales and 40% of prescriptions were on the card, and it had between 15 million and 20 million members.

Fast forward to this past Thursday, when Standley, now president and CEO, told investors that the program had grown to account for 67% of front-end sales, and 58% of script count with more than 36 million members — more than one-tenth the population of the United States.

It is no news flash that Rite Aid, third largest retail pharmacy chain in the country, has faced major challenges over the past decade. While Walgreens and CVS each have more than 7,000 stores and are expanding, Rite Aid has 4,714 and has been contracting. And, its recently reported fiscal 2011 earnings reflect many of the headwinds the company has battled along the way.

But the expansion of Wellness+ and such new initiatives as the wellness store format that it recently implemented in the Northeast are the kinds of things that could help Rite Aid reverse course. With same-store sales up for the first time all year during its fourth quarter, it is another indication that Wellness+ already has gained traction with Rite Aid customers. The company already expects to reduce losses and increase same-store sales in fiscal year 2012, and while nobody can predict the future, it appears to be on track to accomplish that.

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Keeping footwear in ‘shape’

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — A line of inflatable inserts that prevent boots from wrinkling and creasing have gained distribution in Duane Reade.

Booty Shapers offer consumers an inexpensive way to store boots and are available in small, medium and large sizes, catering to all different kinds of boots, the company said.

Booty Shapers can be purchased at Duane Reade, CVS.com, Drugstore.com and more, for a suggested retail price of $9.99 per pair.

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