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MinuteClinic, Lifespan ink clinical collaboration in Rhode Island

BY Antoinette Alexander

 

WOONSOCKET, R.I. and PROVIDENCE, R.I. — MinuteClinic, the retail medical clinic of CVS Health, and Lifespan, Rhode Island's largest health system, which includes five partner hospitals and multiple physician groups, have entered into a clinical collaboration agreement.

The new Rhode Island clinics, opening this fall and in 2015, will be located in Cranston, East Greenwich, North Smithfield, Providence, Wakefield, Westerly and Woonsocket.

The collaboration encourages interaction between Lifespan and MinuteClinic providers to improve coordination and access to care for patients seen at MinuteClinic locations. Both organizations will integrate their electronic medical records to further promote exchange of clinical information, with patients' permission.

For those patients who do not have regular access to primary care, MinuteClinic provides assistance in finding a primary care physician.

"As we have experienced in other states, including Massachusetts and Connecticut, MinuteClinic can support the primary care model in Rhode Island by helping to improve access to care, particularly on weekends and evenings when primary care providers may not be available," stated Andrew Sussman, president, MinuteClinic, and SVP/ associate chief medical officer, CVS Health. "Through our convenient locations, we're pleased that the state's largest health care system has agreed to affiliate with MinuteClinic to increase access and convenience for patients seeking care."

Both MinuteClinic and Lifespan will eventually use the Epic electronic medical record to streamline communication around all aspects of each patient's care. MinuteClinic will electronically share medical histories and visit summaries with the patient's primary care provider at Lifespan. MinuteClinic will also send patient visit summaries to primary care providers who are not affiliated with Lifespan via fax or mail with the patient's consent. MinuteClinic will also participate in Current Care, the state's health information exchange.

Founded in 1994 by Rhode Island Hospital and the Miriam Hospital, Lifespan is an academic health system affiliated with The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Lifespan's partners also include Rhode Island Hospital's pediatric facility, Hasbro Children's Hospital; Bradley Hospital and Newport Hospital. It includes a network of 1,842 affiliated physicians throughout the state.

"We're pleased to collaborate with MinuteClinic to improve access and coordination of care for patients seen at clinic locations," stated John Murphy, EVP, physician affairs, Lifespan. "We will continue to work with MinuteClinic and with our other physician partners to ensure the appropriate level of care is provided in a timely manner to all patients in our community."

MinuteClinic has clinical affiliations with more than 40 major health systems and health care providers across the country.
 

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Three-in-four employees expected to utilize Sam’s Club health exchange if offered

BY Michael Johnsen

 

Sam's Club announced the introduction of a health exchange service in partnership with Aetna, to better serve its small business clientele. With that announcement, Sam’s Club becomes the first retailer to complement its full suite of healthcare offerings — optical, hearing, pharmacy — with a health exchange solution specifically targeting those who are arguably most concerned about health care: small business owners.
 
The move aligns Sam’s Club brands with all things health. “Whenever people visit Sam’s Club at all, I want them to be able to experience health-and-wellness in a way that they leave healthier no matter how they engage with us,” Sherri Thomas, director, managed care services for Sam's Club, told Drug Store News. “If it’s through our pharmacy, optical or hearing services, if they’re engaged in the exchange, if it’s through our health screenings, I want them to be a healthier person because they’re engaged with Sam’s Club.”
 
With the number of small business owners out there, Sam’s Club is about to get a whole lot busier. The company serves about 600,000 small business owners on a daily basis, making those small business owners a core part of Sam’s Club’s member base. 
 
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, there were 28.2 million small businesses (with less than 500 employees) in 2011 (the latest figures). A Kaiser Family Foundation study has confirmed a connection between the size of a firm and whether it offers health insurance. In that year, almost 50% of businesses with three to nine workers offered health insurance benefits to their employees. The ratio grows to 71% for firms with 10 to 24 employees, to 85% for firms with 25 to 49 employees and to 99% for firms with 200 employees or more. 
 
In offering the health exchange, the sweet spot for Sam’s Club are those employers who employ between two and 49 people. “That’s typically what we have at Sam’s Club is those smaller business owners with on average four employees,” Jill Turner-Mitchael, SVP health and wellness at Sam’s Club, told Drug Store News. And to compete with employers larger than them, offering healthcare becomes a key point of differentiation. 
 
“We know that [healthcare] is a place where small employers are very concerned – it’s one of the top issues they bring up to us as an area of concern for them in the running of their small business – which is why we think they’ll opt in.” When Sam’s Club surveyed its member base, 78% were interested in some form of health insurance offering, Turner-Mitchael said. “The fact that Sam’s was willing to go down this path, [they told us] that our membership card would be that much more valuable because of it,” she said. 
 
As many as 31.4 million workers were employed by companies with less than 50 employees in 2011, according to the SBA Office of Advocacy. 
 
That’s a lot of potential covered lives, especially in a still-recovering economy focused on growing jobs. Small firms accounted for 63% of the net new jobs created between 1993 and mid-2013 (or 14.3 million of the 22.9 million net new jobs), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since the end of the recession (from mid-2009 to mid-2013), small firms accounted for 60% of the net new jobs. 
 
As many as three-in-four of those employees offered coverage through Sam’s Club’s exchange will take it. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the employee take-up rate (the proportion of workers who participate in a health insurance plan if it is offered) for workers in small and large firms is fairly similar — 78% of eligible workers in smaller firms (three to 199 workers) participate in their employer’s health insurance plan compared with 83% of eligible workers in larger firms (200+ workers).
 

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Imagine That to deliver on-the-go health experience

BY Ryan Chavis

NEW YORK — Imagine That, a newcomer to the food and beverage industry, is launching a line of shelf-stable beverages that provide the same "goodness" as whole fruits and vegetables, according to the company. Each single-serve beverage contains a whole day's worth of vegetables and fruits.
 
Imagine That is made using a new process that dries whole fruits, vegetables and vegetable juices into a powder that retains most nutrients, as well as aroma and color, the company said. The powder then blends seamlessly with water for a smooth taste.
 
"We set out to help consumers thrive by providing great taste, tremendous value, and high nutrition integrity in an unforgettable way," said a company spokesperson. 
 
Imagine That will retail for $4.00 and will be available in six flavors: Mixed Berry, Cherry Lemon, Strawberry Banana, Peach Mango, Creamy Orange and Chocolate Cherry. Beginning Nov. 1, the company will offer free 1-oz. sample shots exclusively at DrinkImagine.com. A national retail debut is expected in the first quarter of 2015.
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