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Retail medical clinics open up in roadside truck stops

BY Antoinette Alexander

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., and ATLANTA Looking to help America’s truckers with their healthcare needs while on the road, Roadside Medical Labs and Clinics and Pilot Travel Centers are working to expand the new network of retail medical clinics.

The first location opened earlier this year at the Pilot Travel Center in Cartersville, Ga. According to Roadside Medical Labs’ Web site, a clinic is expected to open in Knoxville, Tenn. on March 20; in West Memphis, Ark. on March 27; and also will be “opening soon” in East St. Louis, Ill. Roadside stated that it plans to deliver 17 additional locations in 2008 and 20 more in 2009.

The walk-in clinic is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Depending on state regulations, patients will be treated by a physician, physician’s assistant or a nurse practitioner. While the clinics will keep many routine medications in stock, and dispense prescriptions to its patients, it is not a walk-in pharmacy. Services include acute care, wellness programs and DOT Services like physicals and drug screenings.

“We provide drivers with not only the medical assistance through our clinics to help with their existing health concerns, but also make it easy for them to integrate practical health care solutions into their schedules with healthcare coaching, trucker tips and exercises they can do in and around their rig to keep them on a better road to health,” stated Joe Neely, chief executive officer of Roadside.

In addition to acute care and DOT Services, Roadside has developed wellness and preventive programs. For $15 to $30 per month, drivers or companies can pick from a menu of wellness services including one-on-one healthy coaching via the phone. It has also developed a spouse outreach program.

Maintenance programs include:

  • Road Test: A complete physical assessment and annual medical planning.
  • First Gear: Routine monitoring, exercise program, & preferred pricing.
  • Second Gear: Customized online wellness center and Health Activity Tracker.
  • Third Gear: Bio-screening including a wellness bio-blood panel and DOT Exam.
  • Coaching: Dedicated to keep drivers on the road to a healthier lifestyle.

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Vasos’ promotion at Longs considered ‘a positive’

BY Doug Desjardins

NEW YORK A Goldman Sachs analyst said the appointment of Todd Vasos as the new executive vice president and chief operating officer of Longs Drug is a “positive” that should “position the company better” for the future.

In a March 10 report, analyst John Heinbockel said the departure of former chief operating officer Karen Stout last Friday and the promotion of Vasos to replace her is an “important change” that should make Longs stronger.

 “We view these changes positively. Mr. Vasos is responsible for many of the most impactful initiatives the company has pursued over the past several years, including the upgrade of the private-label program, the development of a new store remodel prototype and expansion into self-distribution,” Heinbockel said in his report. “Ms. Stout, on the other hand, had primarily a warehouse club and supermarket background.”

 In that regard, he added that, “it is more important for the person heading up operations and merchandising to have an intimate understanding of the drug store format.”

In his former position as senior vice president and chief merchandising officer, Vasos played a key role in the rollout of Longs’ store remodels and its front-end re-merchandising.

Larry Gatta will fill Vasos’ position as senior vice president and chief merchandising officer, and Linda Voracek is moving up to the role of vice president of marketing and is responsible for all front-end categories. No reason has been given for Stout’s departure from Longs.

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Gift and decor market hit $65 billion in 2007

BY Doug Desjardins

STEVENS, Pa. The market for gifts and home decor generated $65.2 billion in sales in 2007, according to a new study from Unity Marketing.

Unity said the market grew by 72 percent since its last major study conducted in 2002, when gift and decor accents hit $37.9 billion. The study said giftware sales grew faster than decor in recent years, rising 14.7 percent at an annual rate, compared with a 9.4 percent annual increase in decor.

“The giftware market has completely re-invented itself in the past five years,” said Unity Marketing president Pam Danziger. “The key for success in the giftware market is for companies to continually offer new and distinctly different products for a consumer market that is hungry for concepts that are new and unique.”

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