WAG, Electric Boat dive deeper into worksite deal
DEERFIELD, Ill. —The submarines built by General Dynamics’ Electric Boat division spend most of their time underwater, prowling in secret, and unseen by other ships and planes. But there’s nothing secretive about Walgreens’ ambition to become the accessible, go-to health solution for hundreds, and potentially thousands, of employers like Electric Boat.
The two companies have expanded a 3-year-old partnership with the opening in June of a second on-site pharmacy, this one at Electric Boat’s Groton, Conn., submarine shipyard. The new center will be managed by Walgreens’ Take Care Health Systems.
The opening of the new Groton pharmacy extends an alliance between Take Care and General Dynamics that began in 2007, when Walgreens opened a center at Electric Boat’s Quonset Point hull-fabrication and outfitting facility in Rhode Island. Combined, those two shipbuilding operations are staffed by some 10,000 employees, all of whom now have direct, on-site access to Take Care’s health services.
Take Care pharmacists at the Groton site will provide prescriptions and pharmacy services to some 14,000 Electric Boat employees, retirees and their dependents enrolled in the company’s health plan. The pharmacy will be open six days a week.
In an exclusive interview, Peter Hotz, Walgreens’ divisional VP and COO for the health-and-wellness division, described how one employer site may vary from the next. “Every company has different pain points and different objectives from a cost and accessibility standpoint,” Hotz explained. “So with some clients, we might start with health coaching or wellness services on-site. With others, we might start with medical services, and some we start with pharmacy. Some we start with a comprehensive solution right off the bat. With Electric Boat…they’ve chosen to focus their energy initially on the pharmacy side.”
However, Hotz added, “It’s very common for us to grow our relationships with an employer. For example, Toyota is a major client. We started with a physical therapist in one plant in Georgetown, Ky., probably 10 or 12 years ago. We now operate in seven or eight locations with them. The newest is in San Antonio, where they make the Tundra trucks,” Hotz continued. “We have full primary medical care, occupational health, physical therapy, dental, vision and a full pharmacy—all through Take Care Health [Systems].”
Hotz described the process that leads to the opening of any worksite health center or pharmacy by Walgreens. “For every center, we typically prepare a feasibility study and business plan up front,” he told Drug Store News. “We sit down with the employer and define the scope of services, hours of operation and the population we’re trying to serve. And we talk with [the employer] about whether they want to structure any financial incentives to encourage utilization of the facility. We put together a detailed model that shows them what we expect to happen over the first three to five years. As part of that, we’ll be modeling what we expect to see in terms of improvements from a clinical standpoint as well,” Hotz added.
To that end, Walgreens can set up benchmarks around such goals as compliance and adherence, the level of generic drug utilization or the appropriate use of antibiotics. “It all starts with engagement,” Hotz said. “Engagement on the front end is very critical, and we focus first and foremost on making sure we get folks in the door.”
On a broader front, “we’re not just trying to grow the worksite business itself,” said Hotz, who oversees both the employer solutions group and the consumer solutions group, as well as the Walgreens Health Services pharmacy benefit management subsidiary. “We’re really trying to use these relationships as a platform from which we can sit down with employers and have a broad-ranging discussion about their overall health management and pharmacy management objectives—and then look at all the assets we have as Walgreens. ‘Complete Care and Well-being’ was based on the idea of taking all our assets and putting them to work to solve the problems of employers.”
Those assets include some 730 Take Care in-store and employer-based clinics and Walgreens’ national specialty pharmacy and home-infusion networks, Hotz explained, as well as “access to our pharmacy networks on a direct basis not only for prescriptions but for biometric screenings and other services.”
Hotz said there is a “halo effect” from the worksite pharmacy and health centers that extends to other Walgreens pharmacies in nearby communities. “There’s the initial cannibalization of retail share with that employer of prescriptions that might have gone through those stores, but…in some of our worksite pharmacies, we’ve been able to capture as many as 85% of the eligible prescriptions. So overall, there’s a tremendous lift,” he asserted. “The benefit is we’re all on one system: Intercom Plus. If you work for Electric Boat…you can walk into any Walgreens pharmacy in the country and be in the system.”
Survey: Adolescent vaccination on the rise
ATLANTA A recent survey out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that adolescent vaccination at the national, state and selected local area levels are all on the rise.
Continued increases — as much as 15% — were made in nationwide coverage for vaccines specifically recommended for pre-teens, according to 2009 National Immunization Survey-Teen estimates released Thursday by the CDC.
The survey of more than 20,000 teens ages 13 to 17 years found that in 2009 there were increases in the percentage of teens in this age group who had received vaccines routinely recommended for 11- and 12-year-olds. Specifically:
• For one dose of the tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis vaccine, coverage went up about 15 points to about 56%; • For one dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine, coverage went up about 12 points to about 54%; • For girls who received at least one dose of human papillomavirus vaccine, coverage increased 7 points to about 44%. However, for girls who received the recommended three doses of HPV vaccine, coverage was only about 27% (a 9% increase);
"This year’s data are mixed," stated Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. "We can see that more parents of adolescents are electing to protect their children from serious diseases such as pertussis, meningitis and cervical cancer, but there is clear room for improvement in our system’s ability to reach this age group."
"Pertussis outbreaks in several states and an increase in pertussis-related infant deaths in California highlight how important it is for pre-teens to receive the Tdap booster," Schuchat added. "It is important for teens and adults to get a one-time dose of Tdap to protect themselves and those around them from whooping cough. Young infants are most vulnerable to serious complications from pertussis and can be infected by older siblings, parents or other caretakers."
RediClinic announces availability of FluMist
HOUSTON RediClinic, which operates more than 20 clinics in H-E-B grocery stores in Houston and Austin, Texas, has announced the availability of FluMist at its clinics for the 2010-2011 flu season.
The clinic also soon will offer the flu shot Fluvirin, which is given with a needle and approved for use in people 4 years of age and older, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions, the clinic operator stated.
FluMist, which currently is available in a limited supply, is a needle-free, nasal-spray flu vaccine. FluMist is approved for use in healthy people 2 to 49 years of age who are not pregnant.