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CVS Health announces new clinical affiliations with three regional health systems

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health announced on Thursday that it has entered into new clinical affiliations with three regional health systems — Baptist Health System in Alabama; Community Health Systems affiliated hospitals, which include Commonwealth Health in Pennsylvania, Northwest Medical Center, including Oro Valley Hospital in Arizona and Tennova Healthcare in Tennessee; and Premier Health in Ohio.

Through these clinical affiliations, the patients served by these health systems will continue to have access to clinical support, medication counseling, chronic disease monitoring and wellness programs at CVS/pharmacy stores and MinuteClinic — the retail medical clinic of CVS Health. In addition, CVS Health will provide critical prescription and visit information to the participating health systems through the integration of electronic medical record systems.

"We look forward to working with these leading regional health systems to develop collaborative programs that improve patient outcomes, lower costs and help people on their path to better health," said Troyen A. Brennan, chief medical officer, CVS Health. "Through these clinical affiliations, we will also be integrating our electronic medical records and information systems to enable us to support patients with medication counseling and chronic disease monitoring."

The healthcare providers at the participating health systems will receive data on interventions conducted by CVS pharmacists to improve medication adherence for their patients. The affiliation also encourages collaboration between the healthcare providers and MinuteClinic providers to improve coordination of care for patients seen at MinuteClinic locations. Physicians affiliated with the participating health systems will collaborate with MinuteClinic nurse practitioners to work closely on joint clinical programs and care coordination activities. If more comprehensive care is needed, patients can follow up with their primary care provider and have access to the services at the medical center as appropriate. For those patients who do not have regular access to health care, MinuteClinic provides assistance in finding a primary care physician and a greater opportunity for continuity of healthcare services.

"Finding cost-effective ways to increase access to care continues to be important, especially in this era of healthcare reform, and we are pleased to work together with these healthcare providers to help coordinate comprehensive care for their patients," said Brennan. "Many patients rely on their local pharmacist for information and support regarding their prescription medications and these affiliations enable CVS pharmacists to help improve affiliated healthcare providers' patient health outcomes through better medication adherence. MinuteClinic also plays an important role by providing patients with timely, affordable and high-quality walk-in health care."

The new clinical affiliations bring the total number of health system and healthcare provider affiliations for CVS Health and MinuteClinic to more than 40 major health systems and healthcare providers across the country.
 

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Sam’s Club polls microbusinesses on providing health insurance

BY Michael Johnsen

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — If you’re running a company of five or fewer workers, chances are you’re relying on funds for healthcare insurance from a source outside of that company. If you’re an employee of a microbusiness, you’re likely not relying on your boss to cover your healthcare benefits, according to the Sam’s Club/Gallup Microbusiness Tracker
 
Sam's Club and Gallup discovered that microbusiness owners, many of whom are moonlighting to pursue their small business dream, are getting creative in financing their own healthcare coverage. Only 1-in-10 (9%) of the microbusiness owners funded their own healthcare insurance from within the microbusiness itself. More than 50% rely on their primary job or pay for it out of their own wallet, showing a diverse pool of sources for medical benefits:
 
  • 32% from a current or former employer that is not the microbusiness;
  • 23% from insurance paid for on their own but not through the microbusiness;
  • 19% from Medicare;
  • 9% from insurance paid for through the microbusiness;
  • 4% from military or veteran benefits;
  • 1% from a union; and
  • 1% from Medicaid.
According to the Sam’s Club/Gallup Microbusiness Tracker, microbusiness owners with employees say they largely do not offer healthcare benefits to their employees now (76%), did not provide these benefits in the past (63%) and do not plan to offer these benefits in the next 12 months (70%). For those employers that do provide the benefits, looking at the business outlook ahead most (78%) plan to maintain them at a current level, with some (10%) increasing the benefits and some (7%) lowering them.
 
"The microbusiness owners we track in this study have demonstrated a steely resolve to know their customers and deliver quality products or services to market. Their sometimes razor-thin margin business models do not always leave room to cover health care,” said Rosalind Brewer, president and CEO of Sam’s Club. “Yet, health benefits are a key differentiator for many microbusinesses and a recruiting tool for top talent so it’s an issue the small business community is watching closely.”
 
The survey found that 1-in-3 (38%) microbusiness owners with employees see providing adequate benefits to their employees as a major issue. This number increases for newer microbusinesses.
 
In terms of financing, the Sam’s Club/Gallup Microbusiness Tracker finds that owners continue to fund their business from a range of sources, with personal savings (66.6%) and credit cards (40.6%) remaining the most commonly utilized sources.
 
More veterans have used bank loans (37% compared with 28.7%) or retirement savings (38.2% compared to 27.7%) to fund their business compared to owners who haven’t previously served. Examining gender, male owners are more likely to use bank loans (34.1%) compared to their female counterparts (22.6%).
 
Microbusiness owners remain concerned about future cost increases, mainly taxes (67.2%) but also for employee health benefits (40.9%), utilities (37.9%) and other business costs, such as transportation (32.5%).
 
The Sam’s Club/Gallup Microbusiness Tracker results reflect 1,006 phone interviews conducted Sept. 2-16, 2014 with companies of five or fewer workers. 
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Survey: Potential for data breach worries two-thirds of consumers

BY Dan Berthiaume

NEW YORK — As the holiday season approaches, shoppers are apprehensive about the rise in credit card breaches at major retailers and adjusting their shopping behavior accordingly. According to a new survey from TheStreet conducted by GfK, two-thirds of them are concerned that their credit card and personal information will be stolen whether they shop online or in stores.
 
TheStreet asked consumers about their feelings regarding recent breaches as well as how they have adapted their shopping behavior and found that:
 
Sixty-six percent of consumers are concerned that their information will be stolen. 
Men are more apprehensive than women with 71% of men versus 61% of women saying that they were concerned. 
Age groups revealed a trend in how consumers are dealing with those concerns: 61% of 18- to 24-year-olds versus 49% of those 65 and older said that they would continue to shop in stores that have had security breaches but that they would use cash instead. 
Fifty-eight percent of men compared to 47% of women would continue shopping in stores with data breaches but would use cash instead.
 
The survey also asked if people would feel more comfortable paying for items with their phone using "digital wallets" instead of a credit card and found that:
 
Twenty percent of consumers would feel more comfortable. 
Twenty-three percent of women versus 17% of men would feel more comfortable. 
Those ages 18 years and 24 years old were more comfortable with the idea, with 28% saying that they would feel more comfortable using digital wallets versus only 9% of those 65 years of age and older.
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