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CMS won’t move ahead with some proposed Medicare drug plan changes

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has decided not to move forward on several of the proposed provisions of the Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug program, according to reports.

According to a letter sent to Congress by CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner and obtained by Kaiser Health News, during the rule’s recent comment period the agency received concerns about some elements of the proposal, including plans to lift the protected class definition on three drug classes and to set standards on Medicare Part D plans’ requirements to participate in preferred pharmacy networks.

CMS stated in the letter that, “given the complexities of these issues and stakeholder input, we do not plan to finalize these proposals at this time.”

However, the letter noted that CMS does plan to finalize proposals related to consumer protections, anti-fraud provisions that have bipartisan support and transparency after taking into account the comments received during the public comment period.
 

 

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Jawbone app now available for Android

BY Ryan Chavis

SAN FRANCISCO — Jawbone, a developer of wearable technology and audio devices, on Tuesday announced that its lifestyle tracker, UP24 and the accompanying UP app, are now available for Android users. UP24 is a wristband, app and data system that helps consumers understand their sleeping, movement and eating activity so that they can make choices to live better.

"We believe that helping people understand the context and meaning of their data is key in helping to make sustained behavior changes. Through our investment in data science we have been able to provide personalized insights to help nudge people to meet their sleep or activity goals. Now with the launch of UP24 on Android, our entire community can enjoy the benefits of these insights in real-time, with continuous feedback and in-the-moment notifications to help them achieve their goals," said Travis Bogard, vice president of product management and strategy for Jawbone. "Android users have been incredibly active in the UP community, and we’re thrilled to bring UP24 to the Android platform."

The UP app for Android delivers insights that encourage and motivate, the company said. With the introduction of Bluetooth 4.0 syncing, consumers can also receive constant feedback and real-time notifications to help them better achieve their goals.

The UP by Jawbone 3.0 app for Android is available now in 12 languages as a free download on Google Play.

 

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Publix VP distribution to retire

BY Antoinette Alexander

LAKELAND, Fla. — Publix Super Markets’ VP distribution Richard Schuler is retiring, effective May 2, after 40 years of service, the retailer has announced.

Succeeding Schuler is Publix veteran Casey Suarez, who will assume the role of VP of distribution, effective May 3.

Schuler began his Publix career in 1973 as an unloader in the company’s Miami distribution center. In 1979, he was promoted to grocery supervisor, fresh pack supervisor in 1982 and produce department head in 1987. He moved to the Deerfield distribution center as dispatch superintendent in 1991, and transferred back to Miami in 1995 as Miami distribution manager. Schuler was promoted to his current position in 2000.

“Richard has made significant contributions to Publix, most notable of which is developing a strong and viable distribution support function for our stores. Throughout his career, he has been dedicated to advocating for his customers and committed to the training and development of his associates. We wish him the very best as he begins the next chapter of his life,” said Publix CEO Ed Crenshaw.

Suarez began his Publix career in 1978 as a part-time produce clerk at store 112 in South Miami. After working in different capacities at several stores in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, he was promoted to store manager in 1988 and Miami Division district manager in 1994. In 2011, Suarez relocated to Lakeland to assume the position of director of warehousing.

“As a 36-year Publix veteran, Casey’s background in retail operations and in warehousing gives him the unique ability to have insights into both functions of our business,” said SVP of distribution and manufacturing Mike Smith. “He has strong leadership abilities, which include engaging his associates, creating an inclusive workforce and promoting a strong sense of our Publix culture. We’re confident Casey and his team will continue to build a strong supply chain.”

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