HEALTH

Baptist Healthcare System wants more Walmart clinics

BY Antoinette Alexander

LOUISVILLE, Ky. Baptist Healthcare System, which operates a network of hospitals and other facilities throughout the state, is looking to expand the number of clinics it operates inside select Walmart locations, according to a local news report.

Baptist Healthcare System currently operates six Baptist Express Care clinics at six Walmart stores in the state.

According to Business First of Louisville, the healthcare system is looking to open 24 clinics in such areas as Middletown and Shelbyville, Nicholasville and Somerset, Ky.

"I really see these as a piece of the puzzle for healthcare reform that really has not been developed as far as it needs to be yet," Tim Marcum, director of planning for Baptist Hospital East, was quoted as saying in Business First of Louisville. "We’re trying to go along that route."

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Praising senator, pharmacy groups plead for patient choice in Tricare legislation

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Speaking with one voice, the nation’s largest chain and independent pharmacy groups gave a thumbs-up Monday to recent efforts by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., to preserve the right of military members and their dependents to obtain their prescriptions through a retail pharmacy without penalty.

The message of support came from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association. The two organizations co-authored a letter thanking Lautenberg for his continued leadership in congressional efforts to protect Tricare beneficiaries’ access to retail pharmacies.

The joint letter applauded the New Jersey Democrat for offering a Sense of Congress amendment expressing the Senate’s support for beneficiary choice in the military health program, which covers some 9 million members of the military and their families. Lautenberg has been a leading voice in Congress for legislation that would ensure Tricare beneficiaries do not face increased cost-sharing if they choose to fill their prescriptions and/or obtain other professional health services at a retail pharmacy, rather than at a base pharmacy or through mail order.

 

“We believe the choice of where to obtain prescription medications is best left to Tricare beneficiaries,” stated the letter, jointly signed by NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson and NCPA acting EVP and CEO Douglas Hoey.

 

 

ATricare co-payment freeze provision already passed the House of Representatives under the leadership of House Armed Service Committee chairman Ike Skelton, D-Mo., and ranking member Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif. That measure prohibited a pharmacy co-pay increase. Members of the Senate are slated to debate their version of the Defense Authorization bill, which includes funding for Tricare, but the legislation likely won’t be taken up until after the November elections.

 

 

“As the Defense authorization moves towards final enactment, we will be seeking language specifically prohibiting co-pay increases to best protect beneficiaries’ access to their retail pharmacies,” noted NACDS and NCPA in their letter.

 

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Study: Humidifiers may aid in reduction of airborne flu viruses

BY Allison Cerra

LONDON and BOSTON A study sponsored by Kaz, the manufacturer of Vicks humidifiers, found that such devices as humidifiers may play a role in reducing airborne flu viruses in the home.

The study, "Modeling the airborne survival of influenza virus in a residential setting: The impacts of home humidification," was published in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health. The study examined the role of heat and humidity indoors and found that when homes are kept at the optimal 40% to 60% relative humidity level, airborne flu virus survival time decreases — up to 30% for homes with radiant heat and 17% for homes with forced air heat. The researchers also suggested that since the water vapor levels in the air during the winter time are low, consumers should use a device known as a hygrometer to determine whether or not the humidity indoors is at an optimal level.

"Eliminating a considerable share of airborne influenza viruses through the use of a humidifier could be very beneficial to households this winter," said Ted Myatt, senior scientist at consulting firm Environmental Health and Engineering Inc., and biological safety officer at the Harvard Institute of Medicine in Massachusetts. "However, families should be careful not to go overboard with over-humidifying, because the optimal relative humidity range for indoor comfort and decreased influenza is between 40% and 60%."

Click here to read the full text of the journal article.

In related news, Kaz recently launched a Facebook page devoted to informing families about some of the best defenses against colds and the flu.

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