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CVS Caremark certified by NCQA in Utilization Management

BY Michael Johnsen
WOONSOCKET, R.I. – CVS Health announced Thursday that pharmacy benefits manager CVS Caremark was certified by NCQA in Utilization Management. NCQA Utilization Management Certification is a quality assessment program that focuses on consumer protection and customer service improvement. Standards recognize that organizations that apply for certification have open access networks, and can improve service quality and utilize customized structures to meet purchaser needs.
 
"At CVS Caremark, we are pleased to earn this important certification from NCQA, which further validates our commitment to providing high quality utilization management services to our clients," stated Jonathan Roberts, president of CVS Caremark. "Utilization management programs help ensure that members access clinically appropriate and cost-effective therapies and as a result, are integral in helping our clients manage costs while improving health outcomes for their members." 
 
The CVS Caremark Utilization Management Program is designed to encourage the appropriate and effective use of medications, identify optimal drug use and promote cost-effective drug benefit plan designs for CVS Caremark clients. The program is based on evidence-based drug information, published guidelines and consensus statements and standards of medical practice, the company stated. 
 
"Achieving Utilization Management certification from NCQA demonstrates that CVS Caremark has the systems, process and personnel in place to conduct utilization management in accordance with the strictest quality standards," said Margaret O'Kane, president, NCQA.
 
NCQA's certification review includes an on- and off-site evaluation conducted by a team of physicians and managed care experts. A review oversight committee of physicians analyzes the team's findings and assigns a certification status based on the organization's performance against standards within applicable certification options. 
 
 
 
 
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Costco sales up 3% to $9 billion for April

BY Michael Johnsen
ISSAQUAH, Wash. – Costco on Wednesday reported net sales of $9 billion for the month of April, the four weeks ended May 1, 2016, an increase of 3% as compared to the similar period last year.
 
"For the U.S., the regions with the strongest results were the Midwest, Texas and Northwest," stated Jeff Elliott, AVP financial planning and investor relations, Costco. "Conversely, the weakest comp sale results in the U.S. were in California. The traffic at the California buildings was slightly negative for the month. Excluding the California buildings, U.S. traffic was up approximately 3%," he said. "Our California locations represent a little more than one-third of our total U.S. sales, and we believe the high penetration of gas stations at those buildings generated stronger traffic last year, resulting in tougher comparisons this year for the California business." 
 
Excluding the negative impacts from gasoline prices deflation and foreign exchange, Costco's U.S. store base realized a 2% gain in same-stores sales in that four-week period and Costco's Canadian operation realized a 7% gain.
 
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Report: Target to institute new rules, penalities for vendors

BY Gina Acosta

Target Corp. is getting tough with vendors as it works to improve its supply chain. The retailer plans to tighten deadlines for deliveries to its warehouses, hike fines for late deliveries, and could institute penalties of up to $10,000 for inaccuracies in product information, according to a report by Reuters. The new rules and penalties, detailed in a letter sent to suppliers, will start to take effect at the end of the month and will be rolled out over the next 60-90 days, the report said. (Reuters)

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