PHARMACY

NBCH report: Diabetes remains crucial healthcare cost-driver for employers

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON Eighty percent of diabetics have at least one annual hemoglobin A1c test and cholesterol screening every year, but one-third still have uncontrolled blood sugar, according to a new report by the National Business Coalition on Health.

The report – an analysis based on health plan survey data from the NBCH’s eValue8 program, a request-for-information tool used by employers, coalitions and their purchaser members to measure health plan performance and set expectations – outlines treatment goals for diabetes and the approaches that health plans are using to prevent the disease and improve its care.

The report found that virtually all health plans offer a personal health assessment to identify people at risk for diabetes, but only 3% of members respond to it, and not all employers offer it through their health plans. Less than 20% of plans offer lower copays, deductibles or premiums to members who choose high-quality primary care doctors, and less than half have any financial rewards to patients for selecting higher quality physicians. At the same time, 95% report back to physicians on gaps in care, 70% can show physicians how they compare with peers, and 35% offer financial rewards and incentives for adopting electronic health systems.

“By focusing on the management of chronic conditions such as diabetes, we are working to move the health delivery system away from demand management and cost-shifting, to one that promotes health, prevents illness, coordinates care delivery and ultimately addresses the factors driving up costs,” NBCH president and CEO Andrew Webber said.

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Duane Reade opens fifth walk-in medical clinic in New York

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK A new walk-in clinic at a Duane Reade store in Chelsea officially opened on Wednesday, making it the fifth Duane Reade location with “Doctor on Premises” walk-in medical care.

The physician-staffed clinic is managed by Consumer Health Services and is also affiliated with Beth Israel Medical Center and St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center. It is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and accepts most insurance plans.

“Walk-in, neighborhood-based medical care is a growing trend in this country, and it’s a very positive trend,” stated Dr. Maggie Bertisch, M.D., medical director for New York Walk-In Medical Group PC. “It allows healthcare providers to offer a more convenient, affordable alternative to crowded emergency rooms, while delivering safe, quality medical care in a New York minute.” According to CHS, Duane Reade is planning to add more on-site health clinics in 2010.

As reported, Walgreens, which owns retail-based clinic operator Take Care Health Systems, announced on Wednesday that is has reached an agreement to buy Duane Reade in a deal valued at nearly $1.1 billion.

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Hi-Tech Pharmacal, Mission Pharmacal to market new kidney stone treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

AMITYVILLE, N.Y. Hi-Tech Pharmacal and Mission Pharmacal Co. are planning to market a new treatment for kidney stones to doctors starting in April, the drug maker announced Wednesday.

Under a license agreement between the two companies, Hi-Tech will promote UroCit-K 15mEq (potassium citrate) extended-release tablets to primary care physicians through subsidiary ECR Pharmaceuticals, while Mission will promote it to urologists. The drug is a twice-daily treatment.

“We are pleased to introduce another unique prescription branded product to the primary care market,” Hi-Tech president and CEO David Seltzer said in a statement. “UroCit-K 15mEq is a highly effective product, available in a convenient dosing regimen which will increase patient compliance.”

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