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The growing convenient care industry continues to gain momentum

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Just as a new study emerged, putting a number against retail-based health clinics and indicating that the clinics are poised for strong growth in the coming years, southern Pennsylvania health insurer Independence Blue Cross announced that it is has added coverage for urgent care centers and retail health clinics, and developed a new Web tool to help members locate such facilities. This marks yet another boon for the convenient care industry, which is already experiencing some significant advancements so far in 2012.

Richard Snyder, IBC’s chief medical officer, said that retail-based health clinics and urgent care centers serve as convenient alternative for patients in need of prompt care for nonserious health threats and can help curb overcrowding at the emergency room. This is a point that DSN has stressed for quite some time, and it’s important to acknowledge that third-party payers continue to increasingly embrace the concept.

Not only do such facilities help ease overcrowding at the ER, but they also are very cost-efficient. Research has shown that care initiated at retail clinics is 30% to 40% cheaper than similar care at physician offices and approximately 80% cheaper than similar care at an ER.

Meanwhile, CVS Caremark’s MinuteClinic announced that it not only opened its first clinics in Cincinnati and Dayton, but is has also become an in-network provider with TriWest. TriWest is the Western region plan contractor for Tricare, the healthcare insurance program for Uniformed Service members, retirees and their families. Tricare provides healthcare insurance services to 2.9 million lives in the western region.

MinuteClinic has already contracted with Health Net (Tricare North region contractor) and Humana Military (Tricare South region contractor) and now offers care to Tricare members across the United States.

It’s clear that regardless of who is elected president and what happens to healthcare reform, the convenient care industry has proven the vital role that it plays in helping to keep Americans healthy.

What is your take on the news?

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Pillsbury scares up new treats for Halloween

BY Allison Cerra

ORRVILLE, Ohio — Pillsbury is gearing up for Halloween with new seasonal varieties and baking kits.

New to the Pillsbury portfolio is the Pillsbury Funfetti Halloween brownie pop kit, which includes brownie mix, cocoa confectionery wafers, candy bits and pop sticks, and carries a suggested retail price is $3.49. Also new are the Pillsbury Supreme Collection cake mixes, which are available in red velvet with cream cheese filling, fudge truffle with rich fudge filling and apple spice with a sweet apple filling varieties. Each cake mix carries a suggested retail price of $2.99 each.

New limited-edition items include:

  • Funfetti Halloween cake mix and Funfetti Halloween vanilla-flavored frosting, with respective suggested retail prices of $1.59 and $1.99;

  • Funfetti Halloween cookie mix and Funfetti Halloween whoopie pie kit, with respective suggested retail prices of $2.29 and $3.49;

  • Perfectly Pumpkin premium cookie mix and seasonal cream cheese frosting, with respective suggested retail prices of $2.29 and $1.99;

  • Pumpkin Caramel Delight dessert kit, with a suggested retail price of $4.49; and

  • Pumpkin, banana, cranberry and cinnamon swirl seasonal quick bread mixes, with a suggested retail price of $2.59 each.

"The return of fall colors and flavors is always something we look forward to, and this year is no exception," said Maribeth Badertscher, VP corporate communications for J.M. Smucker, Pillsbury’s parent company. "This year we’re excited to bring back some fall favorites along with some fun new options to help families and friends celebrate more memorable moments this season."

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Budweiser donates $2.5 million to Folds of Honor through ‘Walk-off a Hero’ program

BY Allison Cerra

ST. LOUIS — Budweiser announced that its season-long campaign, "Walk-off a Hero," raised $2.5 million for the Folds of Honor Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing educational scholarships to families of fallen or injured soldiers.

For each of the 205 walk-off wins during the 2012 regular baseball season, Budweiser donated $5,000 to FHF. In addition to the "Walk-off a Hero" program, Budweiser contributed a portion of all sales from May 20 through July 7, raising a total of $2.5 million for FHF. Budweiser presented the donation to FHF founder Major Dan Rooney and the organization on Oct. 3 in front of 42,509 people at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

"Walk-offs are one of the most exciting ways to win in baseball," said Rob McCarthy, Budweiser VP at Anheuser-Busch. "Knowing that each walk-off this season will help support and honor our wounded or fallen heroes and their families made each walk-off even more exciting and meaningful."

Since 1987, Anheuser-Busch and its foundation have donated nearly $11 million to military charities, including the USO, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, Pentagon Memorial Fund, Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, Hispanic War Veterans of America, Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Korean War and Vietnam War Memorials.

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