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CVS Caremark joins AHA to promote health in the workplace

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark president and CEO Larry Merlo, along with CEOs from more than a dozen of America's largest corporations and organizations, announced on Tuesday the creation of the American Heart Association CEO Roundtable, an initiative to create a workplace culture that is focused on health.

As part of the announcement, the AHA also released results from a new online survey showing that while Americans overestimate their health — putting them at greater risk for heart disease and other serious illness — companies and their executive leadership can help.

"At CVS Caremark, we want to ensure that our employees are as healthy as can be," Merlo said. "We are excited to share ideas with the leaders participating in the roundtable and to learn some best practices from them as well."

The AHA CEO Roundtable is looking to lead by example to engage more than 2 million collective employees to create a healthier America — starting in the workplace. CVS Caremark will reach more than 200,000 colleagues alone nationwide.

The AHA CEO Roundtable initiative was informed by a new survey commissioned by the AHA, which found that employees are more likely to participate in and benefit from workplace health programs when encouraged by their CEO and senior management. The CEO Roundtable aims to improve health, in part, by engaging employees to make simple behavior changes — such as being more active and monitoring blood pressure — to reduce their risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses.

CVS Caremark's "Plan for Health" offers incentives, including a lower paycheck contribution for colleagues who each year undergo a free health screening and complete an online health assessment. The program has helped many colleagues learn, some for the first time, that they have a chronic health condition that needs to be addressed, or they have the risk of developing a chronic health condition. In addition, CVS Caremark also provides free wellness services, such as screenings, flu shots and smoking-cessation counseling, at the company's more than 800 MinuteClinic locations. These services are available to all colleagues, regardless of whether they enroll in company-sponsored health coverage.

"As the nation's largest pharmacy healthcare provider, CVS Caremark is committed to helping people on their path to better health. This includes employees at our stores, MinuteClinics, distribution centers and corporate offices nationwide," Merlo said.

"Each year, at least 200,000 deaths caused by heart disease could be prevented through simple changes in health habits, and we need to tackle this issue head-on," said Nancy Brown, CEO of the AHA. "The CEO Roundtable is collaborating to reach more than 2 million employees to help make America heart-healthy."

The American Heart Association's CEO Roundtable comprises three co-chairs, including Henry Kravis, KKR & Co. L.P.; Terry Lundgren, Macy's.; and Nancy Brown, American Heart Association; and 19 members, including Mitch Barns, Nielsen; Bruce Broussard, Humana; David Calhoun, Blackstone; D. Scott Davis, United Parcel Service; Paul Diaz, Kindred Healthcare; Ken Frazier, Merck; Alex Gorsky, Johnson & Johnson; Milton Johnson, HCA; John Lederer, US Foods; Andrew Liveris, Dow Chemical; Mike Mahoney, Boston Scientific; Merlo, CVS Caremark; Denise Morrison, Campbell Soup Co.; George Paz, Express Scripts; Dr. Ralph Shrader, Booz Allen Hamilton; Randall Stephenson, AT&T; Bernard J. Tyson, Kaiser Permanente; Gregory Wasson, Walgreens; and David West, Big Heart Pet Brands.

Click here to view the survey results.
 

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Jean Coutu Group to shareholders: Quebec pharmacists ready for expanded role

BY Antoinette Alexander

LONGUEUIL, Quebec — With a healthcare system that is facing such challenges as an aging population, long wait times at doctors’ offices and overcrowded emergency rooms, Canada’s pharmacy retailer the Jean Coutu Group is optimistic about the expanded role of pharmacists in Quebec under Bill 41, the company told shareholders during its annual meeting on Tuesday.

Under upcoming Bill 41, pharmacists in Quebec will play a broader role within the healthcare system and will be allowed to renew prescriptions and treat certain minor conditions.

For example, if a patient takes a blood-pressure medication that is out of renewals and is unable to see his or her physician in the near term, the pharmacist would be allowed to assess the patient and renew the prescription, if necessary. Also, pharmacists would be able to prescribe medications for 23 different minor conditions, such as recurring urinary tract infections, yeast infections, diaper rash and allergic rhinitis.
 
During the meeting, which was webcast following the release of its Q1 results, the company told shareholders that, thanks to Bill 41, the company will be in a position to help free up physicians from administrative tasks and help broad patient access to healthcare services.

To prepare for Bill 41, the Canadian retailer has adapted its labs and adopted a new set up to ensure that patient consultations are more confidential and comfortable. It also has created an educational campaign to communicate with patients how the pharmacist can help them with their healthcare needs.

In addition, the company, which currently has about 380 pharmacies in Quebec, has developed a professional training program for its pharmacists and technicians for when the new legislation is applied.

The Bill and related regulations were to come into force September 2013, but given ongoing negotiations regarding certain issues, its implementation was postponed.

During the meeting, company executives also provided an overview of objectives for 2015, including:

  • The opening of 14 new pharmacies;
  • Pharmacy acquisitions;
  • Expansion and renovation projects;
  • The launch of new private-label brands; and
  • The opening of a new head office in Varennes.

 

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CHPA Capitol Hill event to focus on legislation to restore OTC eligibility in FSAs and HSAs

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Consumer Healthcare Products Association will be hosting an event July 24 on Capitol Hill in recognition of International Self-Care Day with a focus on the legislation to restore OTC eligibility in FSAs and HSAs. 
 
In addition to Scott Melville, CHPA president and CEO, and CHPA chair Jim Mackey, SVP, U.S. region head for Merck Consumer Care, the speaker lineup includes: 
 
  • Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga.;
  • Erica Mann, head of consumer care division for Bayer HealthCare;
  • Zhenzyu Guo, chair and founder of the International Self-Care Foundation; and
  • Steven Taylor, CEO of Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation. 
 

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