PHARMACY

Pegus will lead Walgreens’ 21st century growth strategy

BY Jim Frederick

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT It was only a matter of time.

(THE NEWS: Walgreens taps clinician for new medical post. For the full story, click here)

Walgreens has taken another big, and perhaps inevitable, step on the road to becoming a fully integrated, full-service, health-and-wellness provider to employers and other health-plan payers. Last week, the pharmacy and health titan revealed it had hired a highly regarded physician with a background in cardiology, medical products and innovative clinical practice approaches to become the company’s first chief medical officer.

Cheryl Pegus will drive big-picture health issues for Walgreens as it pursues its 21st century growth strategy as a cost-effective, broad-based solution to the health-and-wellness needs of patients and their health-plan sponsors. Her focus, said Walgreens, will be on “driving clinical outcomes that improve patient lives, provide value and offer a platform for future innovation and growth.”

Pegus will work within Walgreen’s health and wellness division headed by SVP Hal Rosenbluth.

Chief medical officer is not the kind of executive post a traditional drug store operator would need to fill. But it underscores Walgreens’ new and even revolutionary approach to pharmacy and health retailing, with its broad emphasis on “clinical outcomes” rather than just prescription therapy — and on patient wellness and cost-effectiveness, rather than just on disease management, as important as that is.

Pegus’ entry likely will lead to an expanded list of health and prevention offerings at Walgreens’ more than 8.000 “points of care,” said Rosenbluth. “That includes the potential for new diagnostic screenings and other point-of-care services at pharmacies, retail clinics and worksite health centers that can develop an ongoing relationship between patients and Walgreens,” he said.

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PHARMACY

Solantic launches mobile Web site

BY Antoinette Alexander

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Solantic walk-in urgent care has launched a mobile phone Web site that can be accessed by any mobile phone device that has Web-browsing capability.

 

The site features a listing of the company’s urgent care, wellness and workers’ comp/occupational health services; urgent care prices; insurances accepted; and information regarding Solantic’s urgent care locations in North Florida, North Central Florida, Central Florida, the Treasure Coast and South Florida. The application also includes click-through links to Google maps to assist users in locating the nearest Solantic center.

 

The site can be accessed at m.solantic.com.

Since its founding in 2001, Solantic has been a leader in applying retail concepts to the practice of urgent care medicine. Solantic has been referred to in the media as the "Starbucks of health care" as it posts simplified, three-tiered pricing on large menu boards, displays wait times on queue monitors, offers online registration, Solantic gift cards and a guarantee on its services — if a patient doesn’t feel better they can return to Solantic and be treated for free.

 

The company currently operates 32 centers, with plans to expand in 2010 through hospital joint ventures and franchising with physicians.

 

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NCPA to host three-day legislative conference

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON Hundreds of community pharmacists plan to rally in Washington next week for a three-day legislative conference with more than a dozen members of Congress, an organization representing independent pharmacists said Thursday.

The National Community Pharmacists Association announced the conference, taking place Monday through Wednesday at Washington’s Hyatt Regency.

Obama administration officials speaking at the event will include Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services chief medical officer for the Center for Beneficiary Choice Jeff Kelman and Federal Trade Commission deputy director of the Bureau of Competition Peter Levitas, both speaking Monday. On Tuesday and Wednesday, attendees will hear from such congressional speakers as Reps. Wally Herger, R-Calif., and Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., and Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. On Wednesday, they will attend a pharmacy rally on Capitol Hill where speakers will include Reps. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., Gerry Connolly, D-Va., Geoff Davis, R-Ky., and Walter Jones, R-N.C.

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