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McKesson expands value-based payment technology with acquisition of HealthQX

BY Michael Johnsen

NEWTON, Mass. – Last month McKesson Health Solutions released a national study finding value-based reimbursement has firmly taken hold but that payers and providers are struggling to operationalize some of the fastest growing payment models.

In response, McKesson Health Solutions announced Tuesday it has expanded its portfolio to include ClarityQx value-based payment technology through the acquisition of HealthQX. This technology enhances McKesson’s ability to help customers rapidly and cost-effectively transition to value-based care by automating and scaling complex payment models, such as retrospective and prospective bundled payment.

“The growth of bundled payment is something payers and providers can’t ignore, and we want to ensure our customers have all the tools they need to succeed,” stated Carolyn Wukitch, SVP McKesson Health Solutions. “These new value-based payment analytics, reconciliation and automation capabilities complement our value-based reimbursement suite, because they give our customers the capabilities to prepare for and scale bundled payment.”

Payers and providers are under immense pressure to operationalize bundled payments. Bundled payment is projected to be 17% of medical reimbursement by 2021, making it the fastest growing payment model. And the CMS is now mandating bundled payment in one out of every five metropolitan areas as part of its goal to make alternative payment 50% of reimbursement by 2018. Yet just half of payers and only 40% of providers are ready to implement bundles, and nearly 75% don’t have the tools they need to automate these complex models.

Now, with the addition of ClarityQx, McKesson can offer health plans a more complete portfolio that can automate their medical policy, payment policy, value-based reimbursement models, provider management and contract management.

Health plans use ClarityQx for analytics and for automation of retrospective bundled payment models and McKesson’s Episode Management to support automation of prospective bundled payment. Pairing ClarityQx with McKesson’s Episode Management gives health plans the ability to automate retrospective bundled payment processes today and move to prospective payment as they are ready.

In addition to ClarityQx, McKesson’s Network and Financial Management portfolio also includes McKesson Episode Management prospective bundled payment automation solution, McKesson ClaimsXten advanced claims auditing rules engine, McKesson Reimbursement Manager, McKesson Contract Manager, McKesson Provider Manager and McKesson Payer Connectivity Services.

ClarityQx was developed by HealthQX, a vendor of value-based payment analytic solutions for health plans and providers, which McKesson acquired in June.
 

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Western Union renews deal with Rite Aid

BY Michael Johnsen

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Western Union on Tuesday announced the renewal of its relationship with Rite Aid.

Consumers at Rite Aid locations will continue to have the ability to send and receive Western Union Money Transfer transactions across the United States or across the globe to more than 200 countries and territories, in minutes.

In addition, consumers can purchase money orders and pay their bills at Rite Aid locations nationwide.
“At Rite Aid, we are committed to meeting not only the health and wellness needs of our customers and communities, but their everyday needs, too," stated Tony Sadler, VP store operations Rite Aid. "Our relationship with Western Union allows us to offer customers even more value by providing a reliable option when it comes to moving money or facilitating bill payments, with convenience and a high level of customer service.”
 

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Walmart steps up Prime Day competition

BY Dan Berthiaume
Walmart was offering its own July online savings event before Amazon Prime Day was officially announced, and now the discount giant is sweetening its deal.
 
Walmart is offering all customers free shipping with no minimum purchase on its e-commerce site from Monday, July 11 – Friday, July 15. This builds on a previously announced online promotion that offers a free 30-day trial of the retailer’s ShippingPass program, which provides consumers unlimited, two-day free shipping for a year.
 
The free ShippingPass trial offer is still in place, but this new offer takes things a step further. Notably, Amazon Prime Day is only open to members of the Amazon Prime unlimited delivery service, which costs $99 per year. Amazon is offering its own free 30-day trial, but Walmart can now reach consumers who may be wary of signing up for an online service.
 
In a press release, Walmart did not mention Amazon or Prime Day by name, but made it clear the timing of its latest online discount offer is not coincidental.
 
“At Walmart, we believe saving money every day is better than just one, and that all customers should save, not only some,” said the release. “To help ALL customers save even more, Walmart.com just announced free shipping with no minimum purchase, starting Monday, July 11 through Friday, July 15.”
 
Furthermore, Walmart is offering several new online rollback deals on big-ticket items such as HDTVs, laptops, iPhones and Xbox game consoles.
 
In addition to offering its own July online sales event, Walmart has also treaded on Amazon’s turf by providing online grocery delivery and free cloud hosting services, as well as by testing delivery drones. In 2015, Walmart competed with the hugely successful Prime Day event by lowering the minimum order for free shipping from $50 to $35 and lowering online prices for thousands of items.
 
Walmart also heavily counterprogrammed against Prime Day in 2015, and Amazon still had a rousing success with the event. It is unlikely that Walmart or any other retailer will have any serious impact on Prime Day performance this year, regardless of what they offer. But that is not the point. With this undertaking, Walmart is putting Amazon and consumers on notice that it considers the world’s most successful e-commerce retailer as a legitimate target for stealing online market share.
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