PHARMACY

Walgreens after-care MTM yields improved patient care

BY Michael Johnsen

DECATUR, Ga. — DeKalb Medical has teamed up with Walgreens pharmacists to help patients understand and comply with medication therapies following treatment at the hospital — a collaborative relationship, which already has in just its first three months of existence, improved patient care and satisfaction, DeKalb reported Thursday.

DeKalb Medical improved its Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems top box scores pertaining to patient communications on medication from 50% to 63% over a 90-day period following the program’s launch. HCAHPS scores have continued to trend upward beyond the initial 90-day period as operation of the comprehensive pharmacy program with Walgreens continues.

Walgreens operates a full-service outpatient pharmacy adjacent to DeKalb Medical’s Health and Wellness Store on the DeKalb Medical Main campus in Decatur. Beginning in July, Walgreens pharmacy staff implemented a comprehensive patient-centered discharge medication program. Prior to hospital discharge, this service provided patients who elected to take advantage of the service with proper instruction focused on their new medication therapy, along with the convenience of prescription delivery to the patient at their bedside in the hospital. By eliminating the need to travel to a pharmacy following a hospital stay, the service contributes to the patient’s ability to comply with medication therapy. In addition, Walgreens pharmacists conduct follow-up phone calls to patients within 72 hours of discharge from the hospital to answer questions on medications, potential side effects and treatment programs.

“A patient who is informed and secure in their treatment program following a hospital stay is more likely to stay adherent to their medications and to achieve a better health outcome,” DeKalb Medical SVP and chief nurse executive Cathleen Wheatley said. “By working with Walgreens, we’ve been able to ease the burden on DeKalb Medical patients and their families during challenging times by offering simple and easy access to medications and to health and pharmacy professionals who can address concerns and questions that can follow a hospital stay.”

“This is a great example of the role our pharmacists can play in a coordinated care program that benefits both the patient and the hospital,” added Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness services and solutions. “Medication therapies can be challenging for patients and caregivers. And services like bedside delivery, pharmacist follow-up with patients after discharge and ongoing access to Walgreens community pharmacists who provide education and counseling help ensure a smooth and healthy transition from the hospital to the home.”

The implementation of the programs with Walgreens was a key element of an overarching initiative by DeKalb Medical to improve patient satisfaction. DeKalb Medical was recognized for these efforts when it received a top award for innovation from VHA Georgia in September 2011.


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WAG reports ESI October impact on prescriptions filled

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Thursday reported that prescriptions filled at comparable stores for the month of October increased 2.5%.

However, the estimated negative impact on comparable prescriptions filled from prescription transfers and other trend analysis of prescriptions managed by Express Scripts, was approximately 60 basis points. Calendar day shifts in October, which had one additional Monday and one fewer Friday, compared with October 2010, positively impacted prescriptions filled in comparable stores by 70 basis points and lower incidence of flu negatively impacted comparable prescriptions filled by 50 basis points.

Based on the company’s current estimates, and the current assumption that it will not be in Express Scripts’ pharmacy networks beginning Jan. 1, Walgreens expects to achieve 97% to 99% of its fiscal 2011 prescription volume in fiscal 2012. Because the Express Scripts/Medco merger remains under review, the company has made no assumption regarding the consummation, timing or impact of the merger related to its business for fiscal 2012.

For the month of October, Walgreens realized a 4.7% lift in October sales, to $6.1 billion, as compared to the same period last year. Sales in comparable stores increased 2.6%. The effect of calendar day shifts positively impacted total comparable sales by 50 basis points.

Total front-end sales increased 3.3% in October, while comparable store front-end sales increased 1.7%. Customer traffic in comparable stores dropped slightly by 0.9% and basket size increased 2.6%.

October pharmacy sales increased 4.6%, while comparable pharmacy sales increased 3.1%. Pharmacy sales accounted for 65.3% of total sales for the month.

Flu shots administered at pharmacies and clinics season-to-date were nearly 4.1 million versus approximately 4.5 million last year.

Fiscal 2012 year-to-date sales for the first two months were $12.1 billion, up 5%.

Walgreens opened 17 stores during October, including five relocations, acquired one store and closed six. As of Oct. 31, Walgreens operated 8,234 locations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. That includes 7,786 drugstores, 179 more than a year ago, including 34 stores acquired over the last 12 months.

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J&J Campaign for Nursing’s Future hosts gala to raise funds to help ease nursing shortage in S.C.

BY Antoinette Alexander

CHARLESTON, S.C. — The Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing’s Future will host the Promise of Nursing for South Carolina gala to raise funds and provide scholarships to help ease the nursing shortage in South Carolina.

As the 30th Promise of Nursing regional gala to be held, this year’s proceeds will contribute to the more than $18 million raised across the country to date. 

All funds raised from the event, which is being held in Charleston on Nov. 3, will remain in South Carolina to support undergraduate nursing student scholarships, graduate nursing education fellowships to prepare nurse faculty and grants to South Carolina area nursing schools to help expand their program capacity.

More than 500 South Carolina nurses and healthcare professionals are expected to be in attendance at the Charleston Marriott Hotel beginning at 6 p.m.

"Nurses are the heart and soul of patient care, as they care for patients during their most intimate moments, from bringing new life into the world to helping patients die with dignity," stated Marilyn Schaffner, chief nursing executive and administrator for clinical services for the Medical University of South Carolina Medical Center. "Through partnership with the Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing’s Future, we have the opportunity to help fund scholarships for student nurses as they become part of the magic of nursing."

Current predictions by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicate that South Carolina is expected to experience more than 12,000 nursing position vacancies by 2020. The shortage predicted for South Carolina corresponds with national projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that estimate more than 1 million new and replacement nurses will be needed to meet U.S. population demands by 2016.


The Promise of Nursing for South Carolina gala is part of a public awareness campaign — The Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing’s Future — launched by Johnson & Johnson in February 2002. The campaign is designed to enhance the image of the nursing profession and recruit new nurses and nurse faculty, as well as help retain nurses currently in the profession.

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