Pharmacists, retail clinicians move to front lines of health care
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The idea of pharmacists as the most accessible healthcare professionals isn’t just some hokey marketing gimmick: It’s a readily observable fact, and one that will become increasingly important as retail pharmacies and retail clinics play a greater role on the front lines of care.
(THE NEWS: HHS partners with drug store chains to underscore Medicare benefits to seniors. For the full story, click here.)
Pharmacists’ and retail clinicians’ accessibility is helping make the pharmacy a key source of health-and-wellness education, allowing customers to find ways to take better care of themselves and save money. It also makes efforts by such health authorities as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to communicate with the public faster and more effective.
Everything from education to vaccinations to health screenings are helping to shift many of the services traditionally found in doctors’ offices — and requiring an appointment as a result — to the retail level and turning them into just another thing to get at the drug store on the way home from work. That, in turn, is helping to increase the accessibility and affordability of preventive care, an essential component to building a healthier society, and taking a lot of the burden off physicians.
The ability of pharmacists to help seniors find savings in the "doughnut hole" coverage gap — a quirk in the Medicare prescription drug program in which patients become responsible for the entire cost of prescription drug therapies after spending reaches a certain level until they reach a "catastrophic coverage" threshold — is especially important. According to a study earlier this year, beneficiaries in the coverage gap were 57% more likely to discontinue cardiovascular medications than those with consistent drug coverage.
A major shift is under way in the U.S. healthcare system, one in which such basic services as screenings and vaccinations are becoming cheaper and more available at places like retail clinics and retail pharmacies. Given concerns over costs and accessibility, not to mention disease epidemics like pertussis and Type 2 diabetes, that’s an advantage for everyone.
What do you think? Sound off in the comments below.
Spilman named lead independent director for Harris Teeter’s board
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Harris Teeter has appointed a lead independent director for its board.
Harris Teeter’s board — which recently approved an amendment to the company’s bylaws to permit such a role — said that Robert Spilman Jr. would serve as lead independent director. Spilman, who has been on the retailer’s board since 2002, will preside at the executive sessions of nonmanagement and independent directors, serve as the principal liaison between the chairman of the board and the independent directors, as well as consult with the chairman of the board regarding information to be sent to the board, meeting agendas and establishing meeting schedules.
Spilman will continue to serve as chairman of the board’s corporate governance and nominating committee.
In related news, Harris Teeter’s board declared a quarterly dividend of 14 cents per share to be paid on Oct. 1 to shareholders of record on Sept. 7.
NRF survey: Plenty of BTS shopping to do
WASHINGTON — According to the National Retail Federation and BIGinsight’s "2012 Back-to-School" survey, families with school and college-aged students as of Aug. 7 said they have more than half of their shopping lists to complete.
The average person with children in grades kindegarten through 12 has completed 40.1% of their shopping, while college shoppers and their families have completed slightly more at 45.3%.
Overall, school and college shoppers this year are expected to spend a total of $83.8 billion.
"It’s evident that there are plenty ‘last-minute shoppers’ this year and for retailers these next two weeks are of utmost importance when it comes to attracting families who still have apparel, electronics and school supplies to stock up on," NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. "Given how much of an impact the economy is having on consumers’ buying decisions, retailers will remain competitive up through the final sale after Labor Day, rolling out web, in-store and even mobile promotions to entice children and their parents."
The survey found that more college students and their families already have finished their shopping (16.4%), than school shoppers (7.8%). Additionally, there are fewer school and college shoppers who said they have not started their shopping yet (28.5% versus 31.1% of college shoppers last year, and 26.9% versus 28.3% of K through 12 shoppers last year.)