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Eight MinuteClinic locations open in La.

BY Alaric DeArment

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark has opened eight new MinuteClinic locations in Louisiana, the company said Wednesday.

CVS said it opened the clinics inside CVS/pharmacy stores in Baton Roughe, Mandeville, Slidell and Thibodaux, with plans to open four more in New Orleans, Metairie, Prairieville and Kenner. The openings make Louisiana the 27th state in which MinuteClinic operates.

The clinics will be open seven days per week for walk-in service, with no appointment necessary, accepting most major health insurance; according to the company. The cost for most services starts at $79. CVS Caremark plans to open 150 clinics nationwide in 2013.

"We face a significant shortage in primary care providers, an aging Baby Boomer population and soon, the addition of millions of newly insured patients through the Affordable Care Act," MinuteClinic president an CVS Caremark SVP and associate chief medical officer Andrew Sussman said. "By increasing access to high quality, affordable care at convenient clinic locations where patients shop, MinuteClinic can help support the primary care medical home in Louisiana."

Sussman said about half the patients seen at MinuteClinic don’t have a physician, and most visits occur on weekends, holidays and during evenings.

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Reports: Bi-Lo to retire Sweetbay, Reid’s brands

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — The Sweetbay Supermarket chain will change to the Winn-Dixie banner, which was acquired by Bi-Lo Holdings in 2011, according to published reports.

The Tampa Bay, Fla., Times reported Bi-Lo planned to retire the Sweetbay name next year. Kash n’ Karry changed its name to Sweetbay in 2004.

The 72 Sweetbay stores were part of the total 165 that Bi-Lo bought from Belgium-based Delhaize Group earlier this year. The $265 million acquisition also included 72 Harveys stores and 11 Reid’s stores, as well as leases on 10 former Sweetbay stores. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the Harveys stores will keep that name, but the Reid’s stores will adopt the Bi-Lo name.

 

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Poll: Adults plan to take steps to avoid flu but not other preventable diseases

BY Sierra McCleary-Harris

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. — Flu is at the top of the list of diseases older adults plan to ask about, according to results from a new Harris Interactive consumer awareness survey, sponsored by Merck. Most of the more than 600 surveyed adults age 60 years and older are at least somewhat likely to ask their healthcare professional about preventing the flu this year, and are significantly more likely to ask about this than prevention of such other potentially serious diseases as shingles.

Shingles, the common name for herpes zoster, is a disease caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Once a person has chickenpox, the virus never leaves the body. At some point later in life this virus can reactivate and erupt as shingles — a red blistering rash that can be very painful. Any person who has had chickenpox is at risk for developing shingles, and 98% of adults in the United States have had chickenpox. A person’s risk for shingles increases as they get older, even if they are healthy. There are approximately 1 million cases of shingles each year in the United States, and the CDC estimates that one-in-three people will get shingles during their lifetime.

The survey also revealed the importance of physicians and pharmacists in encouraging vaccination. The survey indicated that 79% of older adults would be at least somewhat likely to receive the shingles vaccine if it were recommended by their doctor or pharmacist. Adults ages 60 years and older were 58% more likely to receive the shingles vaccine if recommended by their healthcare professional than to ask for the vaccine proactively (79% vs. 50%, respectively).

“It is important for people ages 60 [years] and older to get the shingles vaccine because it is the only way to help reduce the risk of getting shingles, but vaccination rates for shingles remain well below those for other adult vaccines against flu or pneumococcal disease,” said Eddy Bresnitz, executive director global medical affairs and policy in Merck’s vaccines division. “The results from this poll are a clear call to action for healthcare providers. It is important that a conversation about shingles takes place with their patients, both about the disease and vaccination against it.”

Merck’s shingles vaccine, Zostavax, is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for adults ages 50 years and older to help prevent shingles. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults ages 60 years and older get vaccinated to help prevent shingles. 

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