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RediClinic’s weight-loss program builds on current convenient care offerings

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — With more than two-thirds of Americans either overweight or obese, weight management undoubtedly is a critical health issue facing the nation. And the news that RediClinic now is offering a weight-management program speaks to a larger trend with the convenient care industry: expanding service offerings beyond acute care, which includes, for some operators, tools to tackle obesity.

(THE NEWS: RediClinic introduces Weigh Forward. For the full story, click here)

RediClinic is launching as of May 16 its new Weigh Forward medically supervised program for weight management. The 10-week program was developed in partnership with weight-loss expert David Katz, and will be available at all 29 RediClinic locations inside H-E-B stores in Houston, Austin and San Antonio.

While RediClinic is the latest clinic operator to announce plans to help consumers tackle obesity, it isn’t the first. In 2006, Lindora Clinic partnered with Rite Aid to open the first retail-based health clinic to offer clinically supervised treatment for weight management. The Lindora Health Clinic focuses on weight-loss and wellness services in the Southern California area, and there currently are more than a half dozen locations.

Meanwhile, The Little Clinic announced in December 2010 the appointment of Eileen Myers as director of prevention and health management to lead health-and-wellness initiatives, as well as to oversee the rollout of an expanded scope of services for the company. Myers previously worked as a private practice dietitian, counseling patients with weight and eating disorder issues. She also has been a consultant, providing motivational interviewing and behavior change strategy expertise for business and industry organizations. Prior to her appointment, Myers worked closely with The Little Clinic for three years as a consultant on scope of services and SmartPath Prevention Programs.

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Medical costs for youth with diabetes more than $9,000 a year

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Wednesday, young people with diabetes face substantially higher medical costs than children and teens without the disease. The study found annual medical expenses for youth with diabetes were $9,061, compared with $1,468 for youth without the disease.

Much of the extra medical costs come from prescription drugs and outpatient care, the CDC found. Young people with the highest medical costs were treated with insulin, and included all those with Type 1 diabetes and some with Type 2 diabetes. People with Type 1 diabetes cannot make insulin and must receive insulin treatment. Some people with Type 2 diabetes also are treated with insulin, because their bodies do not produce enough to control blood glucose, or sugar.

Children and adolescents who received insulin treatment had annual medical costs of $9,333, compared with $5,683 for those who did not receive insulin but did take oral medications to control blood glucose.

"Young people with diabetes face medical costs that are six times higher than their peers without diabetes," said Ann Albright, director of the CDC’s division of diabetes translation. "Most youth with diabetes need insulin to survive, and the medical costs for young people on insulin were almost 65% higher than for those who did not require insulin to treat their diabetes."

The study examined medical costs for children and teens ages 19 years or younger who were covered by employer-sponsored private health insurance plans in 2007, using the MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters Database. The estimates were based on administrative claim data from nearly 50,000 youth, including 8,226 with diabetes.

Medical costs for people with diabetes, the vast majority of whom are adults, are 2.3 times higher than costs for those without diabetes, according to the CDC’s National Diabetes "Fact Sheet 2011." The CDC study will be published in the May issue of the journal Diabetes Care.

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CVS Caremark’s Charitable Trust donates funds to tornado relief efforts

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark’s Charitable Trust, the private foundation managed by CVS Caremark, has donated $75,000 to the American Red Cross in support of relief efforts in Alabama for communities impacted by tornadoes earlier this week.

In addition, CVS/pharmacy locations in Tuscaloosa, Pleasant Grove, Cullman and Cahaba Heights, Ala., will distribute $130,000 in free water, ice and other supplies on Friday to residents of these communities. In Tuscaloosa, which experienced some of the worst tornado damage, CVS/pharmacy is bringing in a mobile pharmacy trailer to help ensure that residents continue to have access to their prescribed medications.

"We have 150 stores in Alabama and more than 700 locations across the South, and we are concerned about the impact these tornadoes have had on our customers, employees and communities," stated Eileen Howard Boone, SVP corporate communications and community relations at CVS Caremark. "We hope our Charitable Trust’s donation to the American Red Cross and our store product donations to the community will provide some relief and benefit the recovery efforts under way in the region."

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