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Take Care Health Systems to provide greater year-round services

BY Drug Store News Team

In a week where too much was made of MinuteClinic’s seasonal closings, Take Care Health Systems’ announcement that it will focus on providing greater year-round services is not only a nod to the strong future of the clinic model and its further expansion, but also its expanded role in healthcare reform.

It also should be noted that Take Care Health continues to open up clinics at a very "Walgreens-like" clip; in fact, new clinic openings are announced nearly every day.

Take Care Health wasn’t alone in its endeavors, as The Little Clinic also announced during the week that each month it will focus on specific health observances (i.e. National Nutrition Month in March) and will offer related free health screenings and assessments throughout the year.

As far as MinuteClinic, Drug Store News’ perspective is that CVS Caremark executives MinuteClinic will look to redeploy those resources in other, new locations where a full-time clinic business makes more sense (either convenient care or worksite-based clinics), even as it continues to operate seasonally (read: cold/flu season) in the affected locations.

Similarly, it appears that MinuteClinic will look to expand its service offerings as well. In CVS Caremark’s most recent quarterly conference call in late February, Tom Ryan, chairman, president and CEO of CVS Caremark, told analysts that a major focus is to expand its MinuteClinic service offerings to “extend relevance.”

“Payers recognize that our clinics provide high quality, cost effective care so we’re forming strategic partnerships that offer health and wellness services, chronic disease screenings and monitoring, and incentives that divert members from using the emergency room to using MinuteClinic for common ailments,” Ryan told analysts.

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Lack of sleep can increase risk of diabetes, study shows

BY Alaric DeArment

BUFFALO, N.Y. Insufficient sleep every night can increase the risk of diabetes, a new study shows.

Researchers at the University of Buffalo in New York found that people who sleep less than six hours a night are 4.5 times more likely to have elevated blood sugar than those who get six to eight hours of sleep. A fasting glucose level of more than 100 is known as prediabetes.

The researchers presented their findings at the American Heart Association’s 49th annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention.

The findings were based on data from a six-year follow-up of patients who took part in the Western New York Health Study, conducted between 1996 and 2001. The 91 people who started out with normal fasting glucose levels but later developed pre-diabetes were compared to those who maintained normal glucose. The study participants were placed into three groups: those who slept less than six hours, those who slept more than eight hours and those who slept between six and eight hours.

“This study supports growing evidence of the association of inadequate sleep with adverse health issues,” said study lead author Lisa Rafalson. “Genetic susceptibility is always a possible explanation for this finding, but it is more likely that pathways involving hormones and the nervous system are involved in the impared-sleep [and] fasting glucose association.”

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PhRMA: White House Healthcare Summit “offers opportunity for input into reform”

BY DSN STAFF

WASHINGTON An organization that represents the drug industry said Thursday that the White House’s healthcare summit in Dearborn, Mich., part of a series that will include several cities, “offers opportunity for input into reform.”

“Through a series of White House health reform summits taking place in Dearborn and other cities across the country over the next two months, a diverse group of stakeholders – including patients, physicians, industry, labor and government – will be openly discussing key elements needed in a comprehensive healthcare reform package,” said Billy Tauzin, president, CEO Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. “These discussions are critical to help ensure that healthcare reform remains a top national priority this year and does not fall by the wayside.”

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