PHARMACY

Retail pharmacy can ‘strut its stuff’ as ACA, insurance exchange information source

BY Alaric DeArment

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores is taking to the airwaves to emphasize the role its members play in disseminating information about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the health insurance exchanges, which officially opened on Tuesday. NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson appeared on Bloomberg TV’s "Surveillance" Tuesday morning to talk about what pharmacies are doing for healthcare delivery.

The NACDS and National Community Pharmacists Association have long touted retail pharmacies as the most accessible centers for health and wellness, and pharmacists as the face of neighborhood health care. That role is especially important given widespread ignorance among the public about the Affordable Care Act and the exchanges.

On Sept. 30, the day before the insurance exchanges opened, kiosk maker SoloHealth announced the results of a 13,600-person survey showing that 64% of consumers have "no" or "a little bit" of knowledge about them. On Tuesday, SoloHealth announced a partnership with eHealthInsurance to help expand consumer awareness and enrollment in individual, family and Medicare health insurance plans.

And as Anderson told Bloomberg, pharmacy retailers large and small are doing their part as well and have busied themselves all week with outreach programs.

On Tuesday, Meijer said it would work with Michigan-based health plan Priority Health to raise awareness about exchanges, as well as distributing informational brochures at its 203 stores in the Midwest and Kentucky.

On Wednesday, Miami-based Navarro Discount Pharmacy said it would make representatives from healthcare companies available at its stores to explain insurance options, as well as sponsoring Univision’s "Salud es Vida" event at the Miami-Dade County Fair and Expo.

On Thursday, Walgreens announced a partnership with GoHealth, directing customers to the GoHealth Marketplace, a resource where they can shop and compare health insurance plans, as well as providing brochures and other materials at stores.

On Friday, CVS/pharmacy announced a partnership with Humana, whereby representatives from the health insurer will be available at CVS’ Project Health events starting this month. Humana also will sponsor in-store events at CVS locations.

And last month, at an event in Hoboken, N.J., that included secretary of health and human services Kathleen Sebelius and Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, Rite Aid chairman and CEO John Standley announced a plan to place insurance agents at stores around the country to educate customers about Obamacare and help them enroll in plans.

It’s no secret that retail pharmacy has a growing role in the healthcare system, as evidenced by California Gov. Jerry Brown’s signing this week of a law that expands pharmacists’ scope of practice in the state, as well as Anderson’s touting of pharmacy services like immunizations and medication therapy management in his Bloomberg TV appearance.

Much as it did through immunizations during the H1N1 swine flu pandemic, retail pharmacy now has another chance to strut its stuff and show the country just how useful a resource it can be.

 

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PHARMACY

Big week in exec moves as Rexall, McKesson tap industry vets

BY Antoinette Alexander

It was a big week for executive promotions, particularly the appointment of Mary Kelly as EVP and chief merchandising officer at Rexall Pharma Plus and Chris Dimos, who has joined McKesson as SVP corporate strategy and business development.

There’s no doubt that these two industry leaders bring much to the table in their new roles.

As Rexall Pharma Plus CEO Frank Scorpiniti said in making the announcement, Kelly brings a wealth of experience in the drug retail industry. For more than 26 years she led business teams in Canada and the United States and, most recently, served as EVP merchandising and category management at Canada’s Shoppers Drug Mart. She also brings to Rexall Pharma Plus the merchandising and pharmacy expertise she garnered during her 17 years at Target, as well as her experience at Revco Drug Stores and Eli Lilly.

Dimos also made headlines with his new role at McKesson. He comes to McKesson from Supervalu, where he was president of pharmacy operations. And before Supervalu, he served as VP pharmacy services with Albertsons. One of the brightest and most talented pharmacy executives in the business, Dimos is known not only for his pharmacy operations prowess, but also for his work in helping to bridge the gap between pharmacy and the front-end through health-and-wellness initiatives.

For example, when Dimos was at Supervalu he discussed how the grocer was conducting healthy eating tours, encompassing a number of such targeted conditions as diabetes and heart health. He also noted how the retailer had made significant progress in developing comprehensive clinical programs and services, such as fielding more than 2,100 immunizing pharmacists and developing comprehensive and reimbursable MTM programs. Clearly, his perspectives will benefit McKesson in its business development initiatives.

Yes, it was indeed a big week for executive promotions and industry observers will be watching as each of these industry vets settle into their new roles. DSN exclusively broke these stories — another reminder that you need to be wired in to DrugStoreNews.com for all the latest news that impacts your business.

 

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PHARMACY

CVS/pharmacy, Humana partner on Affordable Care Act consumer education

BY Antoinette Alexander

LOUISVILLE, Ky. and WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Looking to help Americans better understand their healthcare coverage options under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Humana and CVS/pharmacy announced on Friday a strategic retail partnership.

Humana representatives will be present at CVS/pharmacy’s Project Health events starting this month. Humana also will hold in-store events at CVS/pharmacy locations to educate individuals and their families about healthcare coverage options under the ACA.

  • CVS/pharmacy’s Project Health – Project Health is a CVS/pharmacy wellness program designed to improve access to health care and deliver preventive services. Humana representatives will be present to answer questions about health coverage under ACA at 80 CVS/pharmacy Project Health weekly events in such states as Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan and Texas during the months of October and November.
  • Health coverage information – Humana representatives also will be in more than 500 CVS/pharmacy stores located in 12-of-the-4 states where Humana is offering individual health insurance as a Qualified Health Plan on federal and state individual market public exchanges. Representatives will answer questions that individuals and their families may have about their health coverage options. Representatives will be in CVS stores select Wednesdays, between the hours of 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., throughout the six-month open enrollment period for the Health Insurance Marketplace, which started Oct. 1.

“Providing information about new health insurance coverage opportunities is in keeping with our purpose of helping people on their path to better health,” stated Helena Foulkes, EVP and chief healthcare strategy and marketing officer for CVS Caremark. “We are pleased to combine our innovative suite of services and our new and existing relationships with such organizations as Humana to help patients understand and have access to information about insurance options in their community.”

Humana and CVS/pharmacy also will provide educational brochures and other materials that will be available to individuals and their families.

People can visit HCR411.com in order to find the closest CVS/pharmacy store that has a Humana representative. Individuals can view a listing of the stores that have Humana representatives, as well as the dates and times they’ll be in store by typing in their zip code.

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