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Take Care Clinics’ Medicare wellness visits spell opportunity for retail clinics

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The news that Take Care Clinics now are offering wellness services for Medicare enrollees clearly demonstrates that there’s an opportunity for retail clinics to fill gaps in care, and promote wellness and better patient outcomes.

(THE NEWS: Take Care Clinics offering Medicare wellness visits. For the full story, click here.)

As part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed last year under healthcare reform, Medicare now offers preventive wellness visits to millions of seniors enrolled in Medicare Part B and select Medicare Advantage plans. Yet, according to CMS, only a little more than 6% of eligible seniors actually are taking advantage of this opportunity to receive screenings to help them stay well.

Why? Because of a combination of low awareness that they even have the option and a lack of access — not all physician’s offices will provide the services. And even if a patient’s physician does offer the wellness visit, how quickly could that patient get an appointment to see the doctor? After all, it is no secret that this country already is grappling with a physician shortage.

That’s why it is important that Take Care Health Systems now is stepping up to the plate to offer these patients convenient access through its more than 360 clinic locations that have convenient hours and no requirement for an appointment. Clearly this is yet one more indication that retail-based health clinics — and the healthcare professionals that work in them — play a significant role in today’s healthcare system.

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dajohnson says:
Apr-16-2012 09:16 am

I'm not sure this is a good idea. I applaud the concept of helping Medicare Beneficiaries fully utilize their benefits, especially those at no cost to them. However, as an NP providing the Annual Well Visits I worry this might be confusing for many patients. I am just hoping there is plenty of education regarding exactly what this benefit is and an attempt is made to get this service provided by the PCP first. If, like mentioned in the article the PCP is not providing the service or if there is a long wait to schedule the service then thank goodness for retailers that provide this AWV!! Anyone else out there share my concerns?

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Market speculates a Safeway sale; analyst suggests not likely

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Trading of Safeway shares on Nasdaq were up almost 75 cents in late morning trading on speculation that Safeway soon may be up for sale.

The speculation is borne out of a recent revision in the company’s change in control that would make retention of management easier and cheaper in a take-out, suggested Ed Kelly, Credit Suisse analyst, in a note published Friday morning. "While this is an interesting development, we do not believe it signals that Safeway is suddenly up for sale."

The changes made by Safeway are not uncommon, Kelly noted — Pepsi made a similar change in 2009. "We do not believe [Safeway] is a good candidate for a take-out by a financial sponsor," Kelly commented. "Supermarket retailing is a structurally challenged industry with thin margins."

In addition, the company has poor sales momentum and is more leveraged than it appears, given a large off-balance sheet multiemployer pension liability, Kelly added. "We also do not see an obvious strategic buyer for the company."

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Survey: Bargain shoppers reshape grocery experience

BY Katherine Field Boccaccio

SAN FRANCISCO — A new study released Thursday by MarketTools found that 63% of shoppers said they have changed their shopping habits in the past six months, with the majority reporting changes to seek more value.

According to the study, respondents reported that they buy items with coupons (80%); buy store brands instead of name brands (62%); use store loyalty cards that offer discounts (62%); buy items only when they are on sale (58%); and buy more large-sized products (43%) to save money on grocery bills.

In the search for bargains, shoppers reported that the reason they purchased store brands is to get better value (59% of respondents) and a more attractive price (56%). Additionally, more than two-thirds (67%) of respondents said they use coupons for at least half of their shopping trips, and nearly half (49%) said they use coupons on every, or nearly every, shopping trip. However, many shoppers don’t see coupons as an incentive to try something new: 49% said that a coupon would not prompt them to buy an item they don’t normally buy.

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