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Q&A: Rx to health-savings model

BY DSN STAFF

Pharmacy is evolving from a dispensing model to a service model, and the reason can be traced to a confluence of factors. One, healthcare reform is setting employers and payers in search of cost-efficient care models. Pharmacy is a highly cost-efficient facilitator of improved outcomes. Second, with more of the costs being shouldered by the employee, they, too, are in search of less expensive care. Retail clinics and robust OTC sets address those needs.

DSN talked with Suzanne Hansen, Walgreens group VP pharmacy operations, about how Walgreens is shifting its pharmacy service model to a comprehensive health-savings offering.

For the full audio Q&A, click here.

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Game on: Clinics & chronic care

BY Rob Eder

This month Walgreens announced that it would begin to offer chronic care services at its Take Care Clinics. Its biggest competitor, MinuteClinic, made a similar announcement about a year ago. With full implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the people paying the bills are going to get a good look at what retail clinics can do to lower costs and improve outcomes.

Some still worry that it will fragment primary care and interrupt continuity of care. Of course, that overlooks the countless clinical affiliations and partnerships that Take Care, MinuteClinic and others are forging with hospitals and healthcare systems all across the country, and the collaboration on electronic health records occurring between these organizations.

Much of the misinformation is fueled by small physician groups that have traditionally devalued the role of nurse practitioners, and who have fought for years to limit their scope of practice at the expense of the American healthcare system.

I don’t imagine that will continue.

Retail clinics getting into chronic care will improve adherence, reduce ER visits and re-hospitalizations, and help get the "medical homeless" back on the grid. And in an age of outcomes-based reimbursement, that’s really in everybody’s best interest. Game on.

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Retail execs act as Capitol Hill advocates

BY DSN STAFF

WASHINGTON — Hundreds of community pharmacy executives, pharmacy students and other pharmacy advocates representing 41,000 chain pharmacies took to Capitol Hill from March 13 to 14 for the 5th Annual NACDS RxImpact Day and conducted more than 400 meetings with U.S. senators and representatives. In support of the event, DSN published the third edition of its special RxImpact supplement. Sponsored by Upsher Smith, the special edition of DSN was distributed to members of Congress and is intended to educate lawmakers on the expanded role community pharmacy can play in healthcare reform.

For more photos, click here.

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