PHARMACY

Walgreens sticks it to the flu

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK This story was picked up yesterday by our Drug Store News team for the Weekly Drug Fix as a prime example of the convenience that an established drug store footprint, combined with a burgeoning retail-based convenient clinic care model, can deliver to the American public.

 

And while it certainly does emphasize what retail pharmacy can bring to the healthcare reform table, it’s also indicative of just how aware, and concerned, the public is this year around the novel H1N1 virus. So serious, that they’re actually following repeated recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to get their seasonal flu shots to the tune of more than 1 million inoculations in two short weeks.

 

That might have something to do with the fact that this year’s flu season has already started in earnest. This past Friday (Sept. 18), the CDC reported that influenza-like illnesses has been reported in all 50 states and is widespread in 21. CDC estimates 115 million doses of seasonal flu vaccine will be available. As of Sept. 18, 54 million doses were distributed. And as you can see at least at one pharmacy retailer, more than 1 million have already been administered.

Heightened awareness around influenza-like symptoms is going to drive a whole lot of consumers into pharmacies this year — in search of such items as hand sanitizers or cold/flu remedies, sure. But they’ll also be looking for information. That’s another benefit pharmacies and retail clinics afford the general public — ready access to either a pharmacist or nurse practitioner.

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PHARMACY

Take Care opens two clinics in Chicago area

BY Antoinette Alexander

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. Take Care Health Systems, which is owned by Walgreens, has announced the opening of two new clinics in the Chicago area.

The new clinics are located in Sycamore, Ill., and in Highland Park, Ill. A total of 38 Take Care clinics are now in the market.

In total, Take Care Health now operates 351 clinics in 35 markets throughout 19 states.

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RILA comments on Finance Committee’s health reform proposal

BY Allison Cerra

ARLINGTON, Va. In a letter sent to Senate Finance Committee leaders, the Retail Industry Leaders Association referred positively to the America’s Health Future Act, but expressed serious concerns with elements of the proposal, and suggested meaningful changes aimed at improving compliance.

The letter, signed by RILA SVP government affairs John Emling, appaluds the committee’s pursuit of health care reform aimed at curbing our nation’s ever-escalating health care costs, shifting the delivery system toward wellness, and increasing access to care for the uninsured; goals shared by RILA and its members.

Meanwhile, the letter suggests meaningful changes to the proposal’s “Free Rider” provision, which obligates employers to pay a portion of the costs associated with a qualifying employee’s participation in the health insurance exchange included in the proposal. Specifically, RILA asks the committee for changes to sections that address vesting periods for new employees, the definition of full-time employees, and refocus employer standard on level of care.

“While RILA agrees that the ‘free rider’ alternative is preferable to a pay-or-play mandate, we nonetheless write to express concerns over the language included in the Chairman’s Mark, and to respectfully offer revisions meant to enhance compliance,” said Emling.

Click here to read the entire letter.

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