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Chip Phillips takes top spot at MinuteClinic as Michael Howe steps down

BY Rob Eder

WOONSOCKET, R.I. Drug Store News has learned that Michael Howe has stepped down from his post as chief executive officer of MinuteClinic, and that CVS Caremark has named Chip Phillips as president of the company’s retail clinic division.

Phillips, who moves over from the PBM side of the business, most recently served as the executive vice president of health management/pharma services for CVS Caremark, and brings more than 20 years experience in healthcare management with him to his new assignment.

The fact that the company looked internally for Howe’s successor is indeed significant, particularly given the company’s continued promises to look for creative ways to integrate the various components that make up the total CVS Caremark offering: retail pharmacy, PBM, mail order, specialty pharmacy, and, of course, retail clinics. Phillips, who has been with the company prior to the merger between CVS and Caremark, originally joined the company as Chief Operating Officer for PharmaCare Specialty Pharmacy in 2005. Prior to that, he was President of CHD Meridian Healthcare, a leading provider of primary care, occupational care, and pharmacy services delivered directly on large corporate campuses.

In his new role, it figures that Phillips will look to further leverage MinuteClinic as a critical component of the total CVS Caremark offering to clients and consumers.

“Our initial goal for the MinuteClinic business was to gain first-mover advantage and build our lead in selected markets, and we have done that,” CVS Caremark chief financial officer David Rickard noted in a recent conference call with Wall Street analysts. “Now, we have made the strategic decision to …better our efforts in 2008 on expanding services, contracting with additional third-party payers and working with PBM clients to offer new products and services.”

With more than 500 clinics in 25 states, MinuteClinic has been the undeniable leader in the rapid explosion of the retail clinic industry. Howe, whose own resume had included a stint as Arby’s top executive, has been credited not only with having used his fast-food experience to help streamline and standardize the patient experience, but also in managing MinuteClinic’s massive expansion over the past 18 months or so.

MinuteClinic expects to grow its number of locations by 20 to 25 percent, ending the year with about 600 clinics.

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Kroger to carry medical record flash drive

BY Drew Buono

CINCINNATI A flash drive that will store all of a patient’s personal health records, from allergies to insurance to past surgeries, will go on sale at 103 Kroger stores in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky next week, according to published reports.

The device, called MedFlash will be on the pharmacy counter in Kroger stores and is the first electronic personal health record device that the company will sell, spokeswoman Rachael Betzler said. She added that, “This is the direction the medical community is going, to take everything electronic,” she said. “It makes it really easy for the customer.”

The device combines the flash drive with a Web portal that a patient can access even without the drive. The records can also be downloaded through any computer.

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Ukrop’s to open first in-store clinic

BY Antoinette Alexander

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. Supermarket chain Ukrop’s is opening next week, in partnership with Pratt Medical Center, an in-store health clinic inside its Salem Church store, according to a local news report.

The clinic marks the first such location for Ukrop’s, which operates nearly 30 grocery stores. For Pratt, it is the sixth office and will be electronically linked to its other office locations.

The new clinic will be open Monday through Friday and will be staffed by a nurse practitioner, an assistant and occasionally a nutritionist, according to the report.

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