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MinuteClinic practitioners certified to perform USDOT exams

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health’s MinuteClinic has become the first retail clinic provider to offer United States Department of Transportation physicals for interstate commercial drivers at select locations coast to coast.

MinuteClinic nurse practitioners and physician assistants are now included on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners, a new Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration program.

A law requiring drivers to see only medical professionals included on the National Registry was implemented in May 2014 to ensure that examinations were performed by certified medical professionals.

MinuteClinic practitioners have completed FMCSA training and passed a test on physical qualification standards as part of the certification process.

All interstate commercial drivers must pass a USDOT medical examination at least every two years to obtain a valid medical certificate, maintain their commercial driver's license, and legally operate a commercial motor vehicle.

“Through the stringent FMCSA training and certification exam, our practitioners have the knowledge to determine if a professional driver can safely handle the medical demands of driving a commercial motor vehicle on the highways,” stated Nancy Gagliano, MinuteClinic chief medical officer.

To remain on the National Registry, MinuteClinic practitioners are required to maintain and demonstrate competence through periodic training and recertification testing, according to Gagliano.

The USDOT medical exam looks at a range of conditions to improve safety for all drivers on the road, including cardiovascular disease, respiratory and muscular functions, vision, and hearing.

The cost of a USDOT exam at MinuteClinic is $109 and $35 for a follow-up exam visit. Healthcare insurance does not cover USDOT physicals but most insurance is accepted for other MinuteClinic services.

“Because we’re all over the country and easy to reach, MinuteClinic is a great fit for drivers to not only obtain their biannual exam but also receive medical care throughout the year for acute illnesses and chronic condition monitoring,” added Angela Patterson, MinuteClinic chief nurse practitioner officer. “Our electronic medical records system allows us to access patient histories at any clinic in the U.S, which makes it easy for drivers to visit us in most parts of the country.”
 

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New survey explores 2014 holiday gift card trends

BY Ryan Chavis

 

NEW YORK — First Data this week released a white paper analyzing the results from a nationwide gift card shopping survey, conducted through the course of the 2014 holiday season. The survey, conducted by Marketforce International, sent mystery shoppers into more than 650 stores across 63 retailers. The results are meant to provide insight into how retailers can implement successful processes that drive both loyalty and increased sales to gift cards, according to the white paper. 
 
Plastic still important
While virtual and mobile gift cards are gaining popularity, plastic still dominated the market. First Data noted that 98% of all gift cards sold in the United States in 2013 were in plastic form.
 
Assortment is key
Providing new assortments of cards to customers throughout the year is import to a successful gift-card program. The study noted that the holiday is the perfect time to introduce new graphics and designs that generate excitement and increase the desire to actually purchase.
 
Attributes
When shoppers were asked which grocery/pharmacy store-branded cards with special features appealed to them, “unique shape” and “unique material” came out on top, with “see-through” also proving a popular choice. 
 
Each mystery shopper that participated in the survey completed a questionnaire aligned with the seven vertical industries included in the study: specialty retail, department, discount, grocery/pharmacy, quick service, casual dining and petroleum/convenience. Mystery shoppers also provided feedback on signage, displays, card and carrier designs and promotions. 

To view the complete white paper, click here

 

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CVS Health announces two new clinical affiliations

BY Antoinette Alexander

 

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health announced on Tuesday it has entered into new clinical affiliations with Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and Tucson Medical Center in Tucson, Ariz., and its accountable care organization, Arizona Connected Care.

Through these clinical affiliations, CVS Health will provide prescription and visit information to the participating providers through the integration of electronic health record systems, which will help enhance clinical care for patients served by these affiliates. In addition, patients will continue to have access to clinical support, medication counseling, chronic disease monitoring and wellness programs at CVS/pharmacy stores and MinuteClinic, the retail medical clinic of CVS Health.

"In this era of health care reform, we are pleased to work with these health care providers to develop collaborative programs that enhance access to patient care, improve health outcomes and lower health care costs in the communities they serve," stated Troyen Brennan, chief medical officer, CVS Health. "By integrating our electronic health records and information systems, we will collectively have a more comprehensive view of our patients, which can aid in health care decision making and help ensure patients adhere to important medications for chronic diseases."

Healthcare providers at the participating affiliates will receive data on interventions conducted by CVS pharmacists to improve medication adherence for their patients. The affiliation also encourages collaboration between the health care providers and MinuteClinic providers to improve coordination of care for patients seen at MinuteClinic locations. Physicians affiliated with the participating medical centers will collaborate with MinuteClinic nurse practitioners to work closely on joint clinical programs and care coordination activities. If more comprehensive care is needed, patients can follow up with their primary care provider and have access to the services at the medical center as appropriate. For those patients who do not have regular access to health care, MinuteClinic provides information to help patients in finding a primary care physician.

MinuteClinic, CVS/pharmacy and the participating medical centers will begin to work toward integrating EHR systems to streamline and enhance communication. This integration will include the electronic sharing of messages and alerts from CVS/pharmacy to the affiliates' physicians regarding medication non-adherence issues. In addition, MinuteClinic will electronically share patient visit summaries with the patient's primary care physician when they are part of a clinical affiliation and with the patient's consent. MinuteClinic will continue its standard practice of sending patient visit summaries to primary care providers who are not affiliated with one of these participating groups via fax or mail, with patient consent.
 
These new clinical affiliations bring the total number of health system and health care provider affiliations for CVS Health and MinuteClinic to more than 50 major health systems and healthcare providers across the country.
 

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