Rite Aid to refinance $400 million worth of debt

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid announced Monday a new debt-refinancing plan, the second such plan in two weeks.

The company announced that it would offer for sale a new series of senior notes due 2021 worth $400 million, which would be unsecured, unsubordinated obligations of Rite Aid Corp. and would be guaranteed by the company. The retailer said on June 7 that it would purchase $500 million worth of 7.5% senior notes due 2017.

Proceeds from the offering will be used to redeem $400 million of the company’s outstanding 9.5% senior notes due 2017.

Rite Aid’s debt currently stands at about $6 billion, according to the company’s 2013 annual report.

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Q&A with Stephen Courtman: The next steps for Health Mart


DSN talks to Health Mart president Stephen Courtman about how Health Mart is helping its members stay competitive through new programs and services aimed at improving patient lives and growing profits.

DSN: What is new for Health Mart members at McKesson ideaShare this year?

Steve Courtman: One of the themes of McKesson ideaShare this year is “Better pharmacy health starts here.” The attendees truly come to learn and collaborate, reinforcing our shared commitment to achieving better pharmacy health. For Health Mart members and prospects, we are here to show them how they can run a better business with Health Mart, achieve better results with Health Mart and create a better future with Health Mart. Ultimately, by leveraging our scale and proving value to our customers, we firmly believe that our members are better together with Health Mart.

We’ll feature a full range of solutions for all McKesson ideaShare attendees, but I want to focus on a few that are specifically designed to help Health Marts compete locally and position themselves as a healthcare destination.

We are very excited about our new Local Marketing Support program, which provides more flexible matching funds for marketing expenses. Matching funds can now be applied to a whole catalog of customizable promotions and hands-on support from local marketing specialists. The new program will make it easier for pharmacies to grow their business by attracting new patients and driving new revenue.

We also have invested heavily in digital marketing tools with the re-launch of and Your Pharmacy Online. Now, our members have access to powerful online tools that offer a professional and contemporary online presence — without having to spend a fortune. We’ll also unveil a new Your Pharmacy Online offering at the show, so stay tuned for more on that.

DSN: Health Mart recently passed 3,000 stores. What’s next?

Courtman: Rapidly growing from a few hundred pharmacies to more than 3,100, Health Mart has been a compelling success story in retail pharmacy over the past several years. Much of this success has been driven through the commitment of Health Mart owners and pharmacists to delivering exceptional customer service. And we are very proud of our member pharmacies for being ranked highest in customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates for the third time in four years.

It is our job to leverage this success and passion by continuing to deliver innovative solutions that help them address their most pressing needs — fueling their growth and success through the rapid adoption of operational efficiencies, technology innovation and expanded clinical capabilities. With the changing dynamics in the industry, Health Mart must be more unified than ever, leveraging the national brand and commitment to personalized service. The key to Health Mart’s future is collaboration — and McKesson ideaShare is a great place to start.

DSN: How is Health Mart helping member pharmacies stay competitive by offering new types of services to patients?

Courtman: This is a critical time for retail pharmacies to leverage their role as healthcare service providers, and we believe the pharmacies that will stay competitive will consistently deliver clinical interactions that improve patient health while managing costs. Health Marts, and all community pharmacies, must leverage their local relationships to maximize existing clinical services and adopt emerging clinical services that provide additional value.

We have an entire section of the Health Mart pavilion at McKesson ideaShare devoted to clinical services and adherence solutions. Attendees will learn more about how they can deliver enhanced patient support, including vaccinations programs, adherence training and behavior coaching, refill reminders, medication synchronization and compliance packaging.

DSN: What are the biggest opportunities for Health Mart members in the coming year?

Courtman: Whether we look at it as an opportunity or a challenge, the growing movement to accountable care and performance-based networks will likely be the major focus over the coming year. As payers transition from transaction-based reimbursement, their expectations also are shifting to focus on outcomes and results. In order to control the cost of care, payers will control where they send their “lives.”

As Health Mart, we will need to act in unity and deliver measurable clinical performance that demonstrates to payers that we can make an impact on clinical care and results. And finally, we must continue to grow and maintain our national identity so that patients understand that Health Mart is a destination for personalized, quality care.

Prior to joining Health Mart, Courtman served as SVP retail markets at Medco Health Solutions, where he was responsible for contracting with independent and chain pharmacies and the creation of pharmacy networks to deliver value to plan sponsors. Under his leadership, Medco invested in technology and infrastructure to support aggressive growth and respond to the industry’s changing landscape. Previously, Courtman served in various capacities in the aerospace, automotive, healthcare and restaurant-franchise industries. He earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of London and an MBA from the University of Michigan.


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KEY LEARNING: Preview of key CE lessons at MiS 2013

BY Antoinette Alexander

Attendees of this year’s McKesson ideaShare 2013 will have access to more than 30 accredited continuing pharmacy education courses that offer invaluable insights into the latest thinking and best practices from experts in clinical services, new drug therapies, marketing, merchandising, financial management and succession planning. The continuing education at McKesson ideaShare 2013, which is provided by the Collaborative Education Institute, will be offered June 26 to June 29. The Collaborative Education Institute is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing education.

Highlights of this year’s continuing education offerings include:

Public Policy Forum. Are you uncertain how community pharmacy can best prepare for the rapidly approaching implementation of healthcare reform? Don’t miss this critical discussion led by healthcare and policy experts who will examine key federal and state policy issues relevant to community pharmacy, healthcare reform, how to prepare your pharmacy for 2014 and how to stay abreast of public policy issues relevant to the success of your business. Guest speaker John Kingsdale, Ph.D., a key contributor to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and a leader in the 2006 implementation of Massachusetts’ healthcare reform legislation, will share anecdotes from his experiences, with an aim to help community pharmacists seize the opportunities created by healthcare reform. This session will be held June 29 from 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. and is worth 1.25 hours (0.125 CEU) of live CPE credits.

Best Practices — How Successful Pharmacy Managers Make It Happen! This practice-based session gives attendees an opportunity to pick up insights from on-site visits and interviews with successful pharmacy owners from across the country. Presenter Bruce Kneeland, national account manager for Epicor Software Solutions, will discuss curb appeal, merchandising, technology, referrals from healthcare professionals, managing employees and free publicity. This session will be held June 27 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and is worth 1.5 hours (0.15 CEU) of live CPE credits.

Legislative and Regulatory Update 2013. Need help navigating the legislative and regulatory landscape and how it will impact pharmacy? Mark Kinney, R.Ph., VP of government affairs for the Independent Pharmacy Cooperative, and Jim Driscoll, director of state government affairs of the Independent Pharmacy Cooperative, will provide attendees with an update on recent government policy decisions, including how new laws and regulations impact the practice of pharmacy. Upon completion of this session, pharmacists should be able to, among other things, discuss the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 provision to pay retail pharmacies the national mail-order competitive bid rate for diabetic test strips and explain the Average Actual Acquisition Cost (AAC) pharmacy reimbursement methodology and how it will impact pharmacies. This session will be held June 28 from 7:45 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. and is worth 1.0 hour (0.1 CEU) of live CPE credits.

Enhancing the Bottom Line. Profit — we all need it. But how do you maximize it? Featured speaker Dave Wendland, VP of Hamacher Resource Group, will help attendees identify key profit triggers within a financial statement and will discuss real elements that directly affect profitability and generate significant returns in your business. Pharmacists attending this session will be able to, among other things, distinguish which of the five variables generates the most significant return and explain how incremental changes impact bottom-line profits. This session will be held June 27 from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and is worth 2.0 hours (0.2 CEU) of live CPE.

Staying a Click Ahead: Using Digital Marketing to Connect to Your Consumers (Health Mart University Live CE). With a proliferating mobile marketplace and an ever-evolving social media landscape, this continuing education session is designed to help pharmacy owners, operators and managers stay abreast of current trends, understand what’s next in the digital marketing space and give real world content and technology examples that can be implemented immediately in your local market. This session will be held Friday, June 28 from 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and is worth 1.0 hours (0.1 CEU) of live CPE.

Access To Lives: How Payer Incentives are Presenting an Opportunity for Community Pharmacy (Health Mart University Live CE). This session will explore the impact of health care changes on payer incentives and how pharmacies can position themselves to maintain access by being preferred providers in performance networks. This session will also examine how adherence programs help drive improvement in patient outcomes and pharmacy profitability. This session will be held Friday, June 28 from 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., and is worth 1.0 hours (0.1 CEU) of live CPE.


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