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Walgreens continues to evolve services associated with the neighborhood pharmacy

BY Michael Johnsen

Theranos and Walgreens announced a long-term partnership to bring access to Theranos’ new lab testing service through Walgreens pharmacies nationwide. As the service becomes available through Theranos Wellness Centers inside Walgreens stores, consumers will be able to access less invasive and more affordable clinician-directed lab testing. 

With this news, it becomes clear that the days of the Walgreens pharmacist and nurse practitioner are numbered — not because those professionals are going anywhere, mind you, but because the connotation associated with those occupations really no longer applies. With the number of healthcare services being rolled out under the Walgreens umbrella, it would be more apropos to identify them as healthcare brokers. 

That’s because the scope of healthcare services, appropriate for the retail space, has become quite extensive. Over the past decade, retail clinics within Walgreens have grown from providing a short menu of acute-care items to becoming a destination center for immunizations and select chronic-care disease state management offerings. And as Walgreens relocated the pharmacist from behind the bench in an effort to increase customer accessibility, that pharmacist evolved from an adjudicator of prescriptions to a more fulfilling role as a healthcare counselor plus so much more. Where clinics aren’t available, Walgreens pharmacists also serve as immunizers, medication therapy management counselors and adherence strategists. And beyond patient counseling, Walgreens pharmacists can help educate their senior citizen base on appropriate Medicare plans. And soon that also will include education on the new accountable care organizations that will help serve their entire patient base.

Walgreens is even extending their healthcare expertise beyond the retail patient. The chain most recently partnered with the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center on a bedside delivery program that will help boost adherence and compliance just before the last pieces of healthcare reform fall into place. 

Another example of how Walgreens is helping to evolve what services are associated with pharmacy is its recent collaboration with Orlando Health. The services offered as part of that partnership will foster greater access to care, better coordination of care and an increase in patient awareness around all the healthcare services they can access through Orlando Health. 

When you consider Walgreens’ worksite centers and specialty pharmacy services, Walgreens is so much more than just a pharmacy. Similarly, their customer base extends well beyond just the prescription-filling patient. So the days of Walgreens’ pharmacists and clinicians are numbered. They’re healthcare brokers now. 


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Harris Teeter acquires six Piggly Wiggly locations, and one future location, in the Charleston, S.C., market

BY Michael Johnsen

MATTHEWS, N.C. — On the same day Bi-Lo Holdings acquired 22 Piggly Wiggly locations, Harris Teeter Supermarkets also acquired six Piggly Wiggly locations as well as one future location all in the Charleston, S.C., area. 

The transaction is expected to be completed in October 2013. Harris Teeter plans to close the acquired stores for three to four days for stocking and training of employees. The pharmacies at the acquired stores will remain open throughout the transition, the grocer announced. 

"Piggly Wiggly has a long tradition of operating customer-friendly stores in Charleston," stated Thomas Dickson, chairman and CEO, Harris Teeter. "These store locations and the dedicated associates who work in them make this an especially attractive transaction for Harris Teeter. We plan to remodel and expand a number of these locations to create brand new Harris Teeter stores to serve our customers," he said. "Charleston is a growing and vibrant market, and we look forward to continuing to expand our presence in the region."


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Bi-Lo Holdings acquires 22 Piggly Wigglys across South Carolina, Georgia

BY Michael Johnsen

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Bi-Lo Holdings on Thursday announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co. to acquire 22 Piggly Wiggly stores with approximately 1,200 store employees in South Carolina and coastal Georgia.  

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

"We look forward to welcoming these new associates to the Bi-Lo Holdings family and to building on the strength of these stores," stated Randall Onstead, president and CEO of Bi-Lo Holdings. "We will continue to fine-tune our company and network of stores so that we can reinvest in what matters most for our customers — the freshest foods, the best deals and really connecting to their neighborhoods."

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2013 and is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions. Upon completion of the transaction, the acquired stores will be rebranded under the BI-LO banner name.


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