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J&J debuts diabetes training center

BY Jim Frederick

MILPITAS, Calif. — Taking aim at the diabetes epidemic with a bid to foster healthcare provider partnerships, Johnson & Johnson has opened a first-of-its-kind training center to improve how practitioners deliver diabetes care in local communities.

The new Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Institute is “part of a new global initiative to provide health professionals with the latest information about innovative practice models and ways to use existing diabetes tools and technologies,” according to J&J. The center, opened in late February in this California community, will provide free training in diabetes care and patient management.

J&J said it would underwrite all program costs for health professionals to attend the center, including travel and accommodations. Those who come will go through a two-day intensive course offered twice a week.

“At the new center, thousands of community-based clinicians will be trained in innovative practice models and ways to use new diabetes technologies to solve patient problems,” a J&J spokesperson stated. “This includes receiving training and access to new Web-based technologies just becoming available that show fluctuations in patients’ blood-glucose levels by the hour.”

National diabetes specialists developed the curriculum and will teach specific courses, according to the company.

The institute’s grand opening included a national town hall-style meeting, hosted by Griffin Rodgers, director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, where health experts discussed the state of diabetes care. The event also drew Congressman Mike Honda, a member of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus, and American Idol contender Elliot Yamin, who has Type 1 diabetes.

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MinuteClinic moves forward with Massachusetts plans

BY Antoinette Alexander

MINNEAPOLIS MinuteClinic, a clinic operator owned by CVS Caremark, has applied for its first 10 clinic sites in Massachusetts and expects the opening dates to be in late summer to early fall.

As previously reported by Drug Store News, in January, state health officials approved regulations allowing for limited service medical clinics, marking the end of a long review process that included two public hearings and the submission of hundreds of pages of testimony regarding the regulations.

MinuteClinic stated that it is working with the Massachusetts Department of Health and “is confident that the sites meet the regulatory requirements and will receive approval to move forward.”

The new in-store clinics are planned for CVS stores in Ashland, Beverly, Bridgewater, Danvers, Medford, Medway, Stoughton, Taunton, Tewkesbury and Westford.

The sites are the first of a total of 25 to 30 the company expects to open in Massachusetts by the end of 2008.

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Hallmark exits online flower and gift business

BY Doug Desjardins

KANSAS CITY, Mo. Hallmark is exiting the online gift and flower business, citing a less-than-acceptable return on investment. The move will result in the loss of about 100 jobs at its corporate headquarters and distribution center in Memphis, Tenn., though Hallmark said it would try to find new jobs in the company for those workers.

Hallmark started its online flower business in 2001 and its online and catalog gift and decor business in 2005. The decision will not affect its online business for greeting cards and stationery. A company spokeswoman said Hallmark decided to shutter the flower and gift divisions after determining they “couldn’t guarantee the results we needed.”

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