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Diab to head up health and wellness at Walmart

BY Mike Troy

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Labeed Diab has been named SVP and president health and wellness at Walmart, filling a position previously held by Dr. John Agwunobi, who left the company.

Diab previous served as SVP pharmacy operations for Walmart’s Midwest division, and was based in Chicago. He joined the company in 2009 as a director of operations. He began his career as a pharmacy manager with American Stores, and also served in regional and divisional operations roles with CVS Caremark and Rite Aid. He graduated with a bachelor of science in pharmacy and a minor in business administration from Southwestern Oklahoma State University.

“The passion and commitment to our customers Labeed has will ensure we continue to accelerate our health and wellness growth in the future, helping even more Americans get access to high quality, innovative and affordable healthcare solutions,” Walmart chief merchandising officer Duncan Mac Naughton said in an internal announcement. “Our health and wellness business is an important category for our customers and our company, and we are committed to investing for future growth.”

Diab fills a position previously held by Agwunobi who came to be known affectionately at Walmart as Dr. John. He joined the company in September 2007 and during his tenure played a key role in developing health and wellness solutions that significantly lowered the cost of healthcare for millions of Americans, according to Mac Naughton.

“He made enhancements to the prescription program, which drove down prescription medication costs and provided ongoing savings through our pharmacy offerings,” Mac Naughton said. “And he has continued to drive innovation in the space by testing new concepts that position Walmart well for the future. Now, as the face of healthcare in America continues to change, he’s looking forward to exploring and engaging in other areas in the field.”

Labeed has a strong background in operations and health care and during his leadership of the company’s Midwest division Walmart was able to penetrate Chicago with small format concept stores, according to the announcement.

 

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Study: Affordable, quality health care tops list of consumer concerns

BY Antoinette Alexander

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Access to good and affordable health care is the No. 1 concern of Americans today, trumping national security, national debt, improving the quality of education, gun violence and protecting privacy rights, according to a survey recently conducted for the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.

The survey, conducted by Morpace Market Research and Consulting, captured opinions from 1,000 consumers across the United States ages 21 years to 64 years old with health insurance. Respondents answered questions about different types of healthcare providers, access and cost. Significant findings include:

  • More than 50% of consumers believe there are not enough physicians to provide health care;
  • More than 40% are concerned about being able to get appointments when they need them;
  • More than 41% experience long wait times in the doctor’s office;
  • More than 20% are treated but not educated about their health care; and
  • More than 94% are willing to be seen by a physician assistant instead of a physician.

While the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is designed to improve access for the previously uninsured or underinsured, this survey shows that those who already have health insurance are concerned about what the future holds, with almost half (47.3%) expecting their healthcare costs to increase, and 51% indicating they believe there will be too few healthcare providers to meet patients’ needs over the coming decade.

“Improving the affordability of health insurance for the previously uninsured is clearly an admirable aim, but as millions of newly insured begin to seek more care and as the boomers continue to age and consume more healthcare services, people are understandably worried that there will not be a doctor readily available when they need one,” said NCCPA board chairman James Cannon. “Certified physician assistants are a big part of solving the issue of access to health care, as they can do most things a doctor can do. As more patients enter the market seeking health care, PAs are well positioned to meet these demands by providing high-quality care and educating patients on how to best manage and improve their own health.”

“The model for health care going forward is to deliver the right care at the right time at the right cost,” Cannon said. “Certified physician assistants are key players in this complex equation, delivering quality patient care and cost-effective outcomes in every specialty and clinical setting in the United States.”

When asked what factors are most important when considering to whom to entrust their health care, the most often cited responses mentioned qualifications, certification, knowledge and competence. Other often-cited factors included willingness to listen, communication skills and availability.

 

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Retailers announce relief efforts to help those affected by Washington landslide

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — Looking to help those victims, families and communities affected by the devastating landslide that occurred in late March in Oso, Wash., several industry players have announced relief efforts.

Among the retailers stepping up to the plate is Seattle-based Bartell Drugs. In conjunction with the Salvation Army, Bartell Drugs has announced that it is accepting donations to support ongoing relief efforts for those affected by the mudslide in Snohomish County.

Bartell Drugs, which owns and operates 63 locations in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, has pledged $10,000 to match customer contributions with a donation to Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services.


“When tragedies like this occur, the Salvation Army’s staff and volunteers are focused on the needs of individuals, families and first-responders,” stated Bartell Drugs chairman and CEO George Bartell. “Donations by our customers, along with our company’s matching pledge, will be committed to on-the-ground recovery efforts in Oso and surrounding communities.”



In addition, the Rite Aid Foundation is making a $15,000 donation to the Snohomish County chapter of the American Red Cross.

"Our hearts go out to the victims, families and communities affected by the landslide," stated Ken Martindale, Rite Aid president and COO and president of the Rite Aid Foundation. "As rescue efforts continue and rebuilding begins, it’s important that the people of Oso and the neighboring areas know they aren’t alone during their time of need. We hope that our donation can help make it just a little easier for those who have been impacted the most."

Rite Aid operates 17 stores in Snohomish County and an additional 121 across Washington.

Walgreens has stated that it will make a $25,000 contribution to the American Red Cross Oso Mudslide Relief Fund.  In addition, during the next two weeks customers shopping at any Walgreens store in Washington, Oregon, Montana and Northern Idaho will have the opportunity to make donations to the relief fund in increments of $1, $5 or $10.

“Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Oso who suffered such devastating losses and to the emergency personnel who responded to this disaster and continue to aid in recovery efforts” stated Sue Bandurraga, Walgreens market VP for Seattle and surrounding communities.  “We are happy to make our stores throughout the region available to our generous customers who wish to make a contribution for our neighbors in Snohomish County.”
 

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