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Research shows retail clinics can replace up to 1-in-4 emergency room visits

BY Antoinette Alexander

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. Up to 1-in-4 emergency room visits could take place at a retail-based health clinic or urgent care center, saving potentially $4.4 billion annually, according to new research published in the September issue of Health Affairs.

Furthermore, the research found that such retail clinics as Take Care Clinics have been shown to save patients $279 to $460 per visit compared with emergency room costs.

A second study published in Health Affairs found that 42% of the 354 million annual visits for acute care are made to patients’ personal physicians.

"This research reaffirms the need for alternative sites of care to help ease the pressure of overcrowded emergency departments and long wait times that are often necessary to get an appointment with patients’ primary care providers," stated Hal Rosenbluth, Walgreens SVP, president of Walgreens health-and-wellness division and co-founder of Take Care Health Systems. "The fact that $4.4 billion could be saved by utilizing options like Take Care Clinics and other retail and urgent care clinics is a wake-up call to patients, employers and health plans that money spent on health care can be better allocated to help ease the pressure on an already burdened system."

The Health Affairs article looked at data provided by retail clinics and urgent care centers in 2007 and compared it with emergency department visit data in 2006. The researchers used a list of health conditions that commonly are treated at retail clinics and urgent care facilities to determine the number of visits that could have been treated at alternative sites.

"We are playing an integral role in healthcare reform by providing an entry into the healthcare system for many Americans through both our retail clinics as well as our worksite health centers," stated Sandy Ryan, chief nurse practitioner for Take Care Health Systems. "By offering quality health care where people live and work, Take Care Health Systems is improving the lives of our patients, connecting them within the existing healthcare community and reducing the burden on the healthcare system as a whole. This trend could continue as health plans and employers explore ways to encourage patients to utilize retail clinics more frequently instead of making trips to the emergency department."

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Target launches anti-smoking campaign with American Cancer Society

BY DSN STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS — Target announced that it is launching a month-long anti-smoking campaign in connection with the American Cancer Society’s 2010 Great American Smokeout to support guests and team members in their efforts to quit smoking.

"Target is committed to helping our guests and team members reach their well-being goals, which may include quitting smoking, and we’re proud to work with the American Cancer Society for this year’s Great American Smokeout," said Dr. Joshua Riff, Target’s medical director. "As part of our focus on prevention, Target offers a variety of tools, tips and products for those who want to stop smoking and stay smoke-free. This campaign advances our prevention efforts and will ultimately lead to healthier communities."

The campaign will begin on Nov. 1 and will highlight Target’s assortment of stop-smoking aids and give greater visibility to Target Pharmacy and Target Clinic healthcare professionals, who can offer support, smoking-cessation materials and advice, the company reported. The campaign is anchored by in-store signing and informational brochures in all Target stores, as well as features in the weekly ad and at Target.com.

The American Cancer Society’s 35th annual Great American Smokeout takes place Nov. 18, and is designed to motivate and empower smokers with personalized tools, tips and support to help them quit for good.

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GSK, Amicus to develop, commercialize Amigal

BY Alaric DeArment

CRANBURY, N.J. British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline will work with U.S.-based Amicus Therapeutics to develop a drug for a rare genetic disease.

 

The two companies announced a deal to develop and commercialize Amigal (migalastat hydrochloride), a treatment for Fabry disease. Under the deal, GSK will pay Amicus $30 million upfront, as well as milestone payments of up to $170 million and royalties on future sales.

 

 

Fabry disease is a lysosomal storage disorder resulting from deficiencies of the enzyme alpha-galactosidase A. Lack of the enzyme results in buildup of a lipid called globotriaosylceramide, or GL-3, which is believed to cause the disease’s symptoms, such as pain, kidney failure and increased risk of heart attack and stroke. The disease affects 5,000 to 10,000 people worldwide.

 

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