HEALTH

Vicks Starry Night humidifier hits retail shelves

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK Kaz on Tuesday announced the launch of its Vicks Starry Night humidifier, a product that releases cool moisture into the air for temporary relief of congestion and coughs, and features a built-in, independently controlled projector so that parents have the option to turn off the lights once their child has fallen asleep without turning off the humidifier altogether.

 

With the Vicks Starry Night humidifier, parents will be able to create a virtual galaxy on their child’s bedroom ceiling.

 

 

Arecently released scientific white paper suggested humidifiers may play an important role in reducing the survival of the flu virus on both surfaces and in the air. The research suggested that homes kept between 40% and 60% relative humidity are likely to have fewer flu viruses lingering in the air and on such commonly touched surfaces as sink faucets, door handles and countertops.

 

 

Best used in medium-sized rooms, the Vicks Starry Night humidifier operates between 18 hours and 24 hours on a 1-gallon tank. The product’s built-in scent pad heater works with Vicks Soothing Vapors VapoPads.

 

 

The Vicks Starry Night Cool Moisture humidifier (V3700) has a suggested retail price of $54.99, and currently is available through Toys"R"Us, Kmart, Walgreens and on Amazon.com.

 

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Gallup study shows clinics know how to ‘Take Care’

BY DSN STAFF

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. —Take Care Health Systems, which is owned by Walgreens, built its retail-based clinics around a patient-centric model, and the success of that model is evident in the results of recent Gallup research.

The research on customers and customer engagement found that Take Care Clinics ranked among the top 10% of all organizations that Gallup measures globally in engaging their patients and customers. The research is based on a measure of customer engagement Gallup has developed that quantifies the strength and nature of a customer’s connection to a company. Gallup’s metric assesses the emotional bonds of confidence, integrity, pride and passion that reflect a company’s customer relationships. Gallup has found that without a strong emotional bond, satisfaction is meaningless.

The data found:

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;

More than 9-out-of-every-10 patients strongly felt that the nurse practitioner or physician assistant spent enough time with them, and a similar number strongly felt that the nurse practitioner or physician assistant carefully listened to them and explained things in a way that was easy to understand; and

Take Care Clinics strongly engaged more than 3-outof-every-4 patients. The typical company in Gallup’s database strongly engages less than 1-in-5 customers.

The results of the study are important for several reasons. In today’s consumer-driven healthcare environment, simply satisfying a patient is not enough. Patients want to feel a personal connection; they want to be engaged. Furthermore, the role of retail-based clinics will become increasingly important since healthcare reform means that about 30 million people who currently are uninsured will have health-care coverage, and this comes against the backdrop of a physician shortage and overflowing emergency rooms.

The opinions of more than 50,000 Take Care Clinic patient respondents have been captured to date via on-site kiosks at more than 350 clinic locations. Gallup validated these results through a nationwide, random outbound phone study. Results of that study indicated that the on-site kiosk data provided an accurate portrait of Take Care Clinics’ patient-engagement performance.

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HHS: States must ask for more Medicaid funds

BY Jim Frederick

When President Barack Obama signed an emergency federal spending bill Aug. 13, it gave cash-strapped states a chance to share $16.1 billion to extend an enhanced Medicaid spending program, not to mention $10 billion in stopgap funds for teachers in danger of being laid off. But the states still have to ask for it.

That was the message from Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius to all 50 state governors. In an Aug. 16 letter, Sebelius told every state chief executive that the emergency spending measure “can stave off the deep cuts to Medicaid that many had feared, and sustain jobs in hospitals, health centers and communities across the country.” However, she added, “these funds are only available for your state if you request them within 45 days of enactment, or by Sept. 24, 2010.”

The spending bill extends for six months the enhanced federal medical assistance percentage. “The FMAP increase was initially authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act … and is set to expire this December,” the HHS secretary told the governors. “Under the new law, states that request these funds will receive a 3.2 percentage point increase in their FMAP from January to March 2011, and a half percentage point increase from April to June 2011. Additional FMAP increases are available for each calendar quarter during this period for states with high unemployment rates,” Sebelius added.

“I encourage you to take advantage of extended Medicaid support available to you through the Education Jobs and Medical Assistance Act,” Sebelius told the governors. “This new law, along with the Affordable Care Act, will help support jobs and build a healthcare system with lower costs, more choices and higher-quality health care for all Americans.”

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