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New national NP membership organization illustrates need to speak with one voice

BY Antoinette Alexander

The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the American College of Nurse Practitioners will merge the organizations effective in January. With approximately 40,000 members, the new organization, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, or AANP, will serve as the largest professional membership organization in the country for nurse practitioners of all specialties.

With the nation facing a growing shortage of primary care physicians and some 30 million Americans gaining health insurance in 2014 due to healthcare reform, it is no secret that the nation is grappling with a strained healthcare system. If nurse practitioners are serious about expanding their role in health care, they need to speak with one voice.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 67 million people in the United States live in a primacy care shortage area. “And for Americans who do have a regular physician, only 57% report having access to same or next-day appointments and 63% [have] difficulty getting access to care on nights, weekends or holidays without going to the emergency room. … 20% of adults waited six days or more to see a doctor when they were sick in 2010,” Marketdata Enterprises noted in a study released in late September. It is estimated that the primary care physician shortage will reach about 60,000 by 2015.

Recognizing the high-quality health care that nurse practitioners can provide, strides are being made to ensure that nurse practitioners can practice to their fullest potential. For example, a recent survey of health insurers, specifically Health Maintenance Organizations, found that 75% of HMOs credential with nurse practitioners as primary care providers, an increase over previous years. In addition, Massachusetts lawmakers recently passed a massive healthcare bill that brings expanded scope of services, in such areas as monitoring of chronic diseases and prevention and wellness offerings, to patients of limited-service clinics.

Such developments are no doubt significant, but the reality is that if nurse practitioners are serious about expanding their role in health care they need to speak with a unified, powerful voice.

 

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Health and wellness, led by example

BY Alaric DeArment

More than 80 RediClinic employees and their families lost a total of 700 lbs. while participating in a companywide competition modeled after its Weigh Forward weight-loss program.

Experience will make these providers better coaches for patients who sign up for the program. Aside from putting RediClinic in place to battle one of the most chronic conditions in America — obesity — it also is creating important bonds between patients and practitioners.

RediClinic already has a record of working with patients needing to improve their health on a personal level. In October, DSN Collaborative Care/Retail Clinician magazine recognized RediClinic nurse practitioner Kelly Longenberger at the annual CARE Awards for her work with the company, which included helping a patient who was 5 ft. 3 in. tall and weighed 230 pounds drop 40 points from her cholesterol and improve her kidney health. But it’s also important for the employees themselves to set a good example for patients.

Just about every ad out there for weight-loss or other self-improvement products includes testimonials from people who have used them successfully, often with before-and-after photos. There’s a good reason for this: If a potential customer sees the products working for others, then it’s plausible they’ll work for him too. RediClinic’s Mission: Possible program serves the same purpose, getting healthcare workers to lead by example.

Hy-Vee, the Iowa-based supermarket-pharmacy chain, has done something similar, encouraging its employees to live healthy lifestyles while promoting healthy living among customers and being a key participant in Iowa’s Healthiest State Initiative.

As people who are tasked with protecting the health of the public, nurse practitioners, pharmacists and others are in a prime position to speak on a personal level with patients trying to lose weight and stay healthy, especially if they have done it themselves.

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Walgreens opens second Chicago flagship store at historic Noel State Bank building

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Wednesday held the grand opening for its latest flagship store, a restoration of Chicago’s historic Noel State Bank building in Chicago’s Bucktown/Wicker Park neighborhood. 

This is Walgreens second flagship store in Chicago and, like its downtown State and Randolph flagship location, features an extensive collection of innovative offerings, products and services many may not expect to find in a drug store. “It was thrilling to restore this architectural gem once again into a thriving business anchor in the Bucktown/Wicker Park area,” stated Joe Magnacca, Walgreens president of daily living products and solutions. “This flagship store will provide customers with a unique shopping experience within an iconic building. It’s the latest example of how we are stepping out of the traditional drug store format and helping people get, stay and live well.”

The Noel State Bank building, constructed in 1919, was designed by Gardner Coughlen in a neo-classical style. The original bank fell victim to a bank run during the Great Depression and has housed several different banks over the decades, the last being Midwest Bank, which closed several years ago.

Throughout the last two years, Walgreens has worked closely with the city’s Commission on Chicago Landmarks on the building restoration. The exterior is clad entirely in ornamental terra cotta. Large windows are divided by rising pilasters topped with Corinthian capitals, and a prominent cornice wraps around the rounded corner of the building.

Extensive restoration took place on the building’s coffered plaster ceiling, which features abundant non-symmetrical hexagons that frame griffins and other ornate designs, all of which form into successive yet subtle Star of David patterns. At the center is a large stained glass window with a six-point star design. Walgreens also restored the interior columns topped with pilasters and the original bank vault, which will be repurposed as a “Vitamin Vault” in the store’s health and wellness section. Original bank lockboxes open and display various vitamin products.

 

 

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