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Reports: Former P&G chief Robert McDonald to lead Veterans Affairs

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — President Obama intends to nominate former Procter & Gamble head Robert McDonald to serve as Veterans Affairs secretary, according to published reports.

If confirmed, McDonald would succeed Eric Shinseki, who retired last month.

McDonald retired from P&G as chairman, president and CEO in 2013 after 33 years of service. McDonald led P&G from 2009 to 2013, during which time P&G realized annual sales of more than $84 billion dollars.

McDonald, who joined P&G in 1980, has a military background. The West Point graduate served as the Brigade Adjutant for the Corps of Cadets and was awarded the Silver Medal from The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturing and Commerce, for being the most distinguished graduating cadet in academics, leadership and physical education. Upon graduation he was elected to the Phi Kappa Phi Honorary and earned his Engineer-In-Training qualification from the State of Pennsylvania.

After graduation, he served as a Captain in the U.S. Army for five years, primarily in the 82nd Airborne Division. During his service, he not only completed his qualifications for Airborne, Ranger, Jungle, Arctic and Desert Warfare, Jumpmaster, Expert Infantry and Senior Parachutist, but also earned an MBA from the University of Utah in 1978. Upon leaving the military he received the Meritorious Service Medal.

In response to the news, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, stated, "Bob McDonald is a good man, a veteran and a strong leader with decades of experience in the private sector. With those traits, he's the kind of person who is capable of implementing the kind of dramatic systemic change that is badly needed and long overdue at the VA. But the next VA secretary can only succeed in implementing that type of change if his boss, the president, first commits to doing whatever it takes to give our veterans the world class healthcare system they deserve by articulating a vision for sweeping reform. Our nation's veterans deserve nothing less."

Also commenting on the news, U.S. Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, stated, “I'm glad to see the President reach out to someone with a wealth of experience managing a complex organization who has also had a distinguished military career as a West Point graduate and Army Ranger. The next VA Secretary will face significant challenges because of the systemic problems throughout the VA and their mismanagement of veterans' health services. I've met with veterans from all over Ohio over the past several weeks and received their input on how best to fix the VA. I plan to share their views with Bob during his confirmation, which I plan to support. While new leadership at the top of the VA is desperately needed, it is also critical that the new secretary have the necessary tools to effect change and enforce accountability, including the ability to hire and fire top VA personnel.”

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Joe Gibbs Racing, Dollar General extend NASCAR partnership

BY Michael Johnsen

 

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — Joe Gibbs Racing and Dollar General on Saturday announced an expanded partnership with a multi-year agreement for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and beyond. In addition, JGR announced the contract extension of driver Matt Kenseth that will keep him behind the wheel of the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota.
 
Dollar General will increase its sponsorship to 30 races with Matt Kenseth and the No. 20 team, up from 27 in 2014 and 17 in 2013. One of the top contenders within the Sprint Cup Series, Kenseth is currently fourth the 2014 point standings with five top-five and 10 top-10 finishes and one pole award through the first 16 races. In 2013, his first year driving for JGR and Dollar General, Kenseth celebrated seven wins, marking both a Series and career-best season.
 
“I’m incredibly fortunate to drive for Dollar General. They have great enthusiasm for our sport, and as a driver, it’s great to have such a supportive sponsor behind you,” Kenseth said. “When you meet the people behind the organization, it is easy to see why they have had so much success in recent years. I’m looking forward to continuing our partnership together for many years to come.”
 
“Dollar General is excited to build on its successful partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing and sponsor more races with Matt Kenseth and the No. 20 team,” said Rick Dreiling, Dollar General chairman and CEO. “NASCAR has the most brand-loyal fans in sports and many of our customers are passionate about NASCAR. Our racing sponsorship has proven to be a very effective way to connect with our customers and build our brand.
 
“Having the talent and passion in a driver like Matt, and the way he represents our brand, is a dream come true for a sponsor,” Dreiling said. “The excitement and professionalism that Matt brings to the sport is exceptional and he has proven to be one of the sport's most consistent performers.”
 
Dollar General’s increased sponsorship will also give the retailer the opportunity to showcase its brand for the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway. Kenseth is a two-time Daytona 500 Champion and one of only 10 drivers who have won the event more than once.
 

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PDX Enterprise Pharmacy System integrates Armada Health Care’s ApproveRx

BY Michael Johnsen

FORT WORTH, Texas — Armada Health Care and PDX on Friday announced that Armada’s prior authorization solution, known as ApproveRx, will be integrated with the PDX Enterprise Pharmacy System, PDX Classic and Community Pharmacy system, PDX’s newest system. ApproveRx is an online platform that streamlines the prior authorization process for all pharmacies and prescribers, allowing healthcare professionals to quickly locate and submit prior authorization forms for virtually all drugs and insurance plans. 
 
The integration will produce a continuous pharmacy dispensing workflow and optimal efficiencies. Using the integrated functionality, pharmacies can automate the selection and completion of the appropriate prior authorization form, saving time searching for the appropriate and most current insurance form. The pharmacy can then electronically send the prior authorization request to any prescriber or health plan eliminating the need for paper faxes. The system allows for monitoring the status of all prior authorization submissions.
 
The use of ApproveRx provides PDX pharmacies with a method for initiating and managing prior authorizations within the current workflow. “It is important to PDX that pharmacies have technologies they need to work smarter and faster. By integrating Armada Health Care’s prior authorization program, PDX pharmacies will have access to a utility that will help streamline the prior authorization process,” said Jeff Farris, CEO of PDX. “We remain focused on delivering solutions and services our pharmacy partners require to remain efficient, such as those offered by Armada.”
 
“Industry reports predict a 63% increase in specialty-drug spend between 2014 and 2016, so it’s becoming progressively more important for pharmacy systems to be able to fill and get reimbursed for high-cost medications that require prior authorization approvals,” added Lawrence Irene, CEO of Armada Health Care. “Armada’s partnership with PDX effectively helps fill this need in the marketplace, and helps PDX capture the specialty spend.”
 

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