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CVS, Alere forge clinical alliance

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. —CVS Caremark’s effort to evolve its clinical offerings to leverage MinuteClinic locations to provide wellness, prevention and chronic illness management has reached new heights through an alliance with Alere, a subsidiary of Inverness Medical Innovations that provides specialized health management services for medium- and high-risk patients and complex case management.

Through the alliance, chronically ill patients served by CVS Caremark’s Accordant Common disease management programs will be managed and have access to expanded offerings provided by Alere. In turn, Alere customers will gain access to direct service by MinuteClinic nurse practitioners and CVS pharmacists.

That means that nurse practitioners working within the 500 or so MinuteClinic locations will play an even greater role in the health and well-being of Alere patients. “As part of our agreement, Alere intends to add access to MinuteClinic nurses as one of its methods of increasing member and patient engagement, and making access to health care more convenient,” Tom Ryan, chairman, president and CEO of CVS Caremark, told analysts during the company’s second-quarter conference call on Aug. 4. “In turn, MinuteClinic will have access to extensive rapid diagnostic solutions offered by Inverness. Alere will provide our clients with access to an expanded suite of services.”

For example, if an Alere nurse identifies a patient with heart disease who is not taking medications as prescribed, the nurse will communicate that gap in care to a MinuteClinic nurse practitioner or a CVS retail pharmacist. When the patient needs a test at a clinic or is scheduled to pick up a prescription, they will be counseled to take action.

In addition, the two companies, in accordance with state and federal laws, can link data claims through shared technology to improve and promote disease management and medication adherence. “This strategic alliance creates a first in the health management space—a more direct connection for participants between proven health management programs and their trusted providers in CVS pharmacies,” stated Ron Geraty, CEO of Alere.

Alere’s programs provide interventions designed for the entire lifespan, addressing the continuum of health—from wellness and prevention for those at risk for illness, to disease management for the chronically ill.

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Stop & Shop to offer flu shots to customers

BY Allison Cerra

QUINCY, Mass. For more than twenty years, Stop & Shop has provided seasonal flu shots as part of its Health & Wellness initiative in a continuing effort to best meet the needs of its customersduring the cough and cold season. This year, Stop & Shop will offer seasonal influenza immunizations at a reduced price to Stop & Shop card holders in the pharmacy department beginning Sept. 11 through Nov. 26 or until quantities associated with this program last.

“As part of our continued commitment to provide value to our customers, Stop & Shop is offering seasonal flu shots for $20 when customers use their Stop & Shop card,” said Jim Wonderly, VP pharmacy operations for Stop & Shop. “Unfortunately, many Americans are foregoing medical care because of increased costs, and we want to do our part by offering affordable immunizations during these challenging economic times.”

Seasonal flu shots will be administered at a reduced price in most Stop & Shop stores starting Friday, expanding to all stores in October. Immunizations will be provided by certified and trained Stop & Shop pharmacists and through Stop & Shop’s partnership with Maxim Health Systems and their trained health care professionals. The cost of the seasonal immunization is $30, but customers with a Stop & Shop loyalty card can save an additional $10. Thus, the final cost to Stop & Shop customers, with the Card, is $20.

“Last month, we introduced millions of customers to the new Stop & Shop card along with a commitment to provide them with the best possible value,” said Stop & Shop EVP Jeff Martin. “With the savings Stop & Shop is offering on seasonal flu shots, we are demonstrating that ongoing value commitment as well as a commitment to the health and wellness of ourcustomers.”

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Louisiana seeks to curb methamphetamine abuse with new legislation

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Two government officials from Louisiana invited the National Association of Chain Drug Stores for a signing of a new law aimed at curbing methamphetamine abuse.

On Sept. 8, Gov. Bobby Jindal and Rep. Fred Mills invited NACDS, law enforcement and other select stakeholders to the Governor’s Mansion for a special signing ceremony for HB890 (Act 314). NACDS was instrumental in the negotiations and eventual passage of the new law which establishes a real-time pseudoephedrine reporting system once federal grants are secured.

The law also provides liability protections to pharmacy, and specifically states that no fees will be collected from pharmacies or pharmacists to operate or transmit the data to state police.

NACDS thanked both Gov. Jindal and Rep. Mills for initiating this important legislation, and for working with pharmacies to make it even better.

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