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Take Care Health Systems teams up with Ochsner Health System

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW ORLEANS — Take Care Health Systems on Thursday announced a new relationship with Ochsner Health System that is expected to increase opportunities for clinical collaboration and improve patient access to high-quality, convenient and affordable healthcare options in the greater New Orleans area.

"With tens of millions of Americans poised to gain access to health insurance through reform, it’s critical that innovators and leaders in health care identify the most efficient and effective ways for patients to access high-quality healthcare services," stated Heather Helle, divisional VP for Walgreens Consumer Solutions Group at Walgreens. "Relationships with healthcare innovators, such as Ochsner Health System, will make accessing care simpler and easier for patients while providing relief to the already overtaxed healthcare system. Walgreens has and will continue to join forces with healthcare leaders who strive to offer accessible, quality care for patients."

"Our exploration of Take Care Health [Systems] and the quality of care that is provided in Take Care Clinics has clearly shown that we can offer patients one more option as they seek access to affordable and convenient healthcare services,” stated Warner Thomas, president and COO of Ochsner Health System.

The enhanced relationship between Walgreens’ Take Care Health Systems and Ochsner will promote information sharing on Take Care Clinics and other healthcare options when Ochsner care settings are closed or unable to schedule an appointment within a patient’s desired timeframe. Professionals at the Ochsner on-call nurse system and with the health system’s scheduling group will have access to information on Take Care Clinic locations, evening and weekend hours, and services available to patients and their families.

Providers at Take Care Clinics will have information available to educate patients on Ochsner Clinics and healthcare services and will continue to provide patient information on a variety of healthcare resources as appropriate. If a patient at a Take Care Clinic requires care that falls outside of the setting’s scope of service, Take Care Clinic providers can quickly offer the patient a copy of their visit records to share with other providers at Ochsner or other healthcare facilities.

Research conducted by the Jefferson School of Population Health and published in the American Journal of Medical Quality in September 2010 showed that the quality of care delivered in Take Care Clinics for treatment of pharyngitis and upper respiratory infections met or exceeded the quality of care delivered in other settings. Additionally, Gallup research published in August 2010 in Retail Clinician on patient engagement at Take Care Health Systems showed that the Take Care Clinics received the highest satisfaction ratings from more than 9-out-of-every-10 patients, compared with the typical company in Gallup’s database that receives the highest satisfaction from just 1-in-every-3 customers.

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Whole Foods cleans up standards for household products

BY Allison Cerra

AUSTIN, Texas — Whole Foods Market this week has introduced a comprehensive, color-coded rating system for household cleaners sold at its stores.

The new Eco-Scale rating system features tiered, green household cleaning standards where products are rated and classified based on the specific set of environmental and sourcing standards they each meet.

The Eco-Scale classifies household cleaners in the following categories:

  • Red-rated products do not meet the Eco-Scale standards and will be reformulated or phased out of Whole Foods Market;

  • Orange-rated products must be third-party verified to meet the following criteria: No ingredients with significant environmental or safety concerns — such as phosphates, chlorine or preservatives, which have the potential to release formaldehyde. Products also cannot contain artificial colors or use animal testing;

  • Yellow-rated products feature all of orange-rated product requirements, plus no ingredients with moderate environmental or safety concerns, such as diethanolamine (DEA), triethanolamine (TEA) or monethanolamine (MEA) surfactants — surface acting agents that can act as foaming agents — that have the potential to contain nitrosamines and other impurities, and no synthetic thickeners made from nonrenewable petroleum-derived sources. All products must feature 100%-natural fragrances; and

  • Green-rated products represent the highest level of Whole Foods’ new standards and meet all the requirements of the orange and yellow products, but also contain only 100%-natural ingredients and no petroleum-derived ingredients.

"Shoppers have a right to know what’s actually in the products they use to clean their homes," said Jim Speirs, global VP procurement for Whole Foods. "We’ve always carefully monitored ingredients. Now, with Eco-Scale, we’re able to help shoppers buy eco-friendly products with confidence and provide safer alternatives for their households and for the planet as a whole."

Whole Foods said that all products sold in its stores must meet the baseline orange standard by Earth Day 2012.

For more information on Whole Foods Market’s Eco-Scale, including prohibited ingredients for each tier, visit WholeFoodsMarket.com/eco-scale.

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Despite store openings, Fresh & Easy reports $300 million loss

BY Allison Cerra

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Supermarket retailer Fresh & Easy, which operates stores in California, Arizona and Nevada, experienced increased losses this year, according to parent company Tesco.

The chain, which opened its doors in 2007 and has expanded its reach to include more than 165 stores to date, endured a loss of more than $300 million during the 2010-2011 financial year ended Feb. 26, its parent company reported on Tuesday.

Despite the higher losses in the 2010-2011 period, the overall Fresh & Easy business remains on track to break even toward the end of the current financial year, Tesco said.

Philip Clarke, who officially took the helm of Tesco as its CEO on March 1, said that it is working to drive more customers into Fresh & Easy stores and is confident that improvements will be seen.

"The customers that shop at Fresh & Easy absolutely love it … We just have to get more customers into the stores to appreciate it," Clarke said in a post-results interview, adding that more efforts are being put into communicating Fresh & Easy’s concept of offering high-quality food at fair prices.

Clarke also noted that despite the losses, Fresh & Easy will forge ahead with its expansion.

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