Foulkes discusses CVS Caremark’s integrated business at Wharton Health Care Conference
PHILADELPHIA — CVS Caremark’s chief healthcare strategy officer on Friday outlined how the company’s integrated offerings — retail pharmacy, pharmacy benefit management and retail clinics — are helping patients achieve better health by working to increase medication adherence and targeting behaviors to improve treatment for chronic diseases during a panel discussion at the Wharton Health Care Business Conference.
At the Wharton Health Care Business Conference, Innovation in a Changing Health Care Environment, Helena Foulkes, EVP and chief healthcare strategy and marketing officer, showed how CVS Caremark is developing innovative programs, such as Pharmacy Advisor, and expanding care for chronic diseases at MinuteClinic locations to provide personalized care that improves patient health outcomes, while working to better manage and reduce overall medical costs.
Foulkes participated in a panel focused on innovations in wellness and healthcare delivery. She said CVS Caremark has brought together retail pharmacy, retail clinics and PBM services to develop unique pharmacy care products. One example is Maintenance Choice, a program that allows customers to pick up 90-day prescriptions at mail-order costs whether they are shopping at retail or receiving medications through the mail. Foulkes said CVS Caremark also is expanding MinuteClinic because it offers convenient quality care at a fraction of the cost patients pay in other healthcare settings.
"These products and our business are real market innovations that are helping people on the path to better health," Foulkes said. "CVS Caremark has integrated three health care services to create a pharmacy innovation company. Our business model is unique and we reach patients in many different ways. But, if you stand back and look at everything we do — from pharmacists counseling patients about their medications to nurses monitoring patients’ chronic diseases — we do more every day to promote wellness than almost any company in the world.”
CVS Caremark employs more than 24,000 pharmacists and nearly 2,000 nurse practitioners and, between retail store and clinic visits and its PBM services, provides pharmacy health care to more than five million people every day.
"We recognize the central role pharmacists play in delivering access to affordable, quality care and we are uniquely positioned to leverage the expertise of pharmacists and nurse practitioners to positively impact health outcomes and reduce costs," Foulkes said.
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CVS transformed retail-based clinics from an entrepreneurial start up concept to a national network of branded primary care centers. When they rapidly followed with the Caremark acquisition, they blew past 107 year old Walgreens and challenged the American healthcare industry to think beyond its assumption that healthcare is and will remain a local business. Since then, however, they have not maintained their leadership in the retail clinic field, failing to recognize, as Walgreens did, that the stand alone, start up, nurse practitioner clinic model is not sustainable. Similarly, their alignment with the Cleveland Clinic has yet to deploy what could be a highly innovative model of integrated health services, connecting patients, nurses, physicians and homes electronically to deliver truly world class care at affordable prices. Under Ms. Foulkes' leadership the company may again rise to the forefront of healthcare innovation, as the entire country prepares for the opportunities coming in 2014 and beyond. Ron Hammerle, Chairman Health Resources, Ltd. Tampa, Florida
Kiosks take retail into new realm of customer service, convenience
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — A common feature in movies from the mid-20th century is the automat, a place where customers could plunk in a few coins and retrieve such pre-made food items as sandwiches and desserts.
(THE NEWS: Kroger expands reach to Ohio Northern campus with kiosk test. For the full story, click here.)
Automats mostly have disappeared in the United States, but the idea behind them appears to be on the rise again in the form of retailing kiosks, such as the one Kroger is piloting on the campus of Ohio Northern University.
Kroger isn’t the only retailer looking to use kiosks. Max-Wellness plans to put its Wellness-in-a-Box kiosks in airports, urgent care centers, hotels, fitness centers and other locations to sell customers health-and-wellness products. Meanwhile, Rite Aid announced in December that it would roll out 3-D holographic display kiosks showing images that appear to float in space.
But one area where pharmacy retailers, in particular, potentially could get a lot of use out of kiosks is at the pharmacy itself. In January, California-based Medbox announced the introduction of two new prescription drug vending machines, the Safe Storage Locker and the Medbox Rx, both of which allow pharmacists to load a customer’s medication into a lockbox for later retrieval, with customers able to obtain the medications with the swipe of a card and the scanning of a fingerprint.
Just as automats didn’t replace servers at the restaurant, kiosks won’t replace store staff or pharmacists, but they can add a new layer of convenience for customers and retailers alike, especially pharmacists who want to get back home at a reasonable hour and customers who can’t make it to the drug store until late in the evening.
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Call to Congress to reject mail for Tricare comes at critical time as pharmacy, PBM war heats up
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The call to Congress to reject budget proposals that would increase co-pays for prescription medications at community pharmacies for Tricare patients is important as the war between the pharmacy and pharmacy benefit manager lobbies heats up.
(THE NEWS: NACDS, NCPA urge Congress to reject proposal that discourages Tricare patients’ use of community pharmacies. For the full story, click here.)
As the articles states, the call to action by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association aims to strike down a provision in the governments FY 2013 budget that would increase co-pays for prescription medications at community pharmacies for Tricare patients, but lower co-pays for prescriptions filled via mail order.
Such a policy would not only impose higher-out-of-pocket costs on Tricare beneficiaries and reduce access to care, but it is especially important to win the hearts and minds in Washington right now, as the clock ticks on the FTC’s decision over ESI-Medco.
Meanwhile, one big payer has weighed on the side of patient access when the state of Nebraska announced that it would leave ESI to stick with Walgreens. Reports indicated that Nebraska officials will switch health insurance carriers, as of July 1, from Blue Cross/Blue Shield to United Healthcare. A key reason for the switch: State employees want access to Walgreens pharmacies. More than half of the 15,000 state employees and 30,000 dependents presently have their prescriptions filled at a Walgreens pharmacy, according to reports. Plus, the move is expected to save $8 million per year.
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