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CIGNA Healthcare adds MedBasics clinics to network

BY Antoinette Alexander

DALLAS CIGNA HealthCare has added MedBasics Family Health Centers to its network for those members in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and Little Rock, Ark.

The in-store clinics are located within Carnival Super Markets in Dallas-Fort Worth and inside USA Drug Stores in Little Rock.

“This agreement will provide CIGNA members with another option for convenient and quick treatment for routine medical conditions at a cost significantly less than a trip to an urgent care clinic or hospital emergency room,” stated Brian Jones, MedBasics chief executive officer. “We plan to continue to reach agreements with health insurance companies in order to make our services accessible and affordable for more individuals.”

CIGNA HealthCare was among the first health services companies to include retail clinics into its network, announcing the addition of MinuteClinic, RediClinic, Take Care Health Systems, Little Clinic and CIGNA Medical Group’s CMG CareToday clinics over the past two years.

“MedBasics Family Health Centers work well for the average American, always on the go,” stated Kenneth Phenow, market medical executive for CIGNA. “From the parent trying to get a child’s immunizations up to date while running between children’s many activities to the working adult trying to get a minor illness checked during a lunch hour, retail clinics offer an affordable, efficient and convenient option.”

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AlixPartners awarded for implementation of Solo Cup Co. industrial turnaround

BY Adam Kraemer

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. The M&A Advisor recently granted its “Industrial Turnaround of the Year” award to the Solo Cup Co., which utilized the company’s Performance Improvement Program to improve gross margins, operating income and overall profitability through increased efficiency and cost reduction, Solo reported.

Solo, working with Alix Partners, reduced its total debt by more than $360 million as of the end of the third quarter 2007. “We made a tremendous investment in making the business profitable during 2007. Our employees took on the challenge and, working with AlixPartners, they built the internal capability to continue this approach to improvement on an ongoing basis,” said Robert Korzenski, president and chief executive officer of the Solo Cup Co. “We are gratified to receive this recognition and we congratulate our partners at AlixPartners on their achievements.”

The M&A Advisor, a leading information and publishing company serving the investment banking, private equity and professional services industry, presented the awards at its annual conference, held on Feb. 24th and 25th in Palm Beach, Fla.

“AlixPartners is honored to have played a key role in the turnaround of Solo Cup Co.,” said David Garfield, managing director of AlixPartners. “Bob Korzenski and his team made it possible for us to help the company truly change its outcome.”

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Fred’s reports 3 percent sales increase for February

BY Michael Johnsen

MEMPHIS, Tenn. Fred’s on Friday reported a 3 percent increase in sales, to $148.5 million, for the four-week fiscal month of February, the first month of fiscal 2008, which ended March 1.

Comparable store sales for the month rose 1.1 percent versus an increase of 3.9 percent in the same period last year.

“In February we enjoyed the positive effects of our recently announced short-term initiatives to improve in-stock positions on most popular items and enhance operational execution at our best performing stores and pharmacies,” stated Fred’s chief executive officer Michael Hayes. “Largely as a result of these efforts, traffic increased 1 percent for the month despite the fact that sales slowed significantly in the last week of February. This slowdown demonstrated the economic challenges our customers are facing as well as the leap year effect, which moved two ad days into March. We expect the traffic momentum from our programs to extend through March as we continue the implementation of our strategic plan.”

During February, Fred’s opened five new stores and closed two stores. Pursuant to its recently announced strategic plan aimed at improving company performance, Fred’s expects to open 18 stores and 15 pharmacies in 2008 and close 75 underperforming stores during the year.

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