PHARMACY

MinuteClinic signs clinical affiliation with North Shore-LIJ Health System

BY Jason Owen

GREAT NECK, N.Y. — MinuteClinic, the retail healthcare division of CVS Caremark and North Shore-LIJ Health System (North Shore-LIJ), one of the nation’s largest healthcare providers, have signed a clinical collaboration to enhance access to high-quality healthcare services in Nassau and Suffolk counties and the boroughs of Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island.

Under the agreement, North Shore-LIJ physicians will serve as medical directors for MinuteClinic walk-in medical clinics open seven days a week inside two CVS/pharmacy stores in Bellport and Syosset, Long Island and one on Staten Island (Hylan Boulevard). The agreement also includes plans for future clinics in the region as part of a national expansion that includes 150 new clinics in 2013 to reach a total of 1,500 clinics in the U.S. by 2017.

In addition, MinuteClinic and North Shore-LIJ will collaborate on patient education and disease management initiatives and will inform patients of the services each offer.

North Shore-LIJ facilities and their affiliated physicians will accept patients who need a level of care that is not provided at MinuteClinic services. Signage at MinuteClinic locations will inform patients that each site has an affiliation with North Shore-LIJ, which includes 16 hospitals, a network of nearly 400 outpatient physician practices and more than 9,400 affiliated physicians throughout New York City and Long Island.

"North Shore-LIJ’s national reputation for clinical quality and excellence in adhering to best practices were important factors in the decision to affiliate with them," said Andrew Sussman, president of MinuteClinic and SVP/associate chief medical officer of CVS Caremark. "We look forward to having their physicians collaborate with MinuteClinic’s nurse practitioners to provide quality oversight, teaching and backup so MinuteClinic can provide the best care at the lowest overall cost to New York residents."

MinuteClinic medical clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners who provide treatment for acute illnesses and administer wellness and prevention services, including health condition monitoring.

"This is North Shore-LIJ’s first clinical affiliation with a retail pharmacy for walk-in medical services," said Jeremy Boal, SVP and chief medical officer at North Shore-LIJ. "We are confident that this agreement will be mutually beneficial to MinuteClinic, North Shore-LIJ and its physicians, and more importantly, provide local residents with another reliable source of health care."

MinuteClinic and North Shore-LIJ will begin to work toward fully integrating electronic medical record systems to streamline communication around all aspects of each individual’s care. With patient permission, MinuteClinic will electronically share medical histories and visit summaries with other North Shore-LIJ facilities and physicians. In the meantime, MinuteClinic will continue its standard practice of sending patient visit summaries to primary care providers via fax or mail, typically within 24 hours, with patient consent.

MinuteClinic practitioners specialize in family health care and can diagnose, treat and write prescriptions for common illnesses, such as strep throat and ear, eye, sinus, bladder and bronchial infections. Minor wounds, abrasions, skin conditions and joint sprains are treated, and such common vaccinations as influenza, tetanus, pneumonia, pertussis and hepatitis A and B are available at most locations. Walk-in camp, sports, college, DOT and other administrative physicals are available daily. In addition, MinuteClinic administers a series of wellness services designed to help consumers identify lifestyle changes needed to improve their current and future health, including screenings and monitoring for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.


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Rite Aid announces winners of Favorite Pharmacy Team Member contest

BY Jason Owen

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid announced the two winners of the 2012 Favorite Pharmacy Team Member contest: a pharmacy technician from Ada, Ohio, and a long-time customer of the Birmingham, Mich., store. Both were selected at random from more than 13,000 entries in the annual contest honoring Rite Aid’s pharmacy team members for their commitment to customer care and service.

To enter, customers submitted mail-in nominations, in-store forms and online ballots during American Pharmacists Month in October. The names of one customer and one pharmacy team member were each drawn to receive $2,500 in Rite Aid gift cards. And every nominated "favorite" pharmacy team member receives an official pin and letter of commendation from Rite Aid chairman, president and chief executive officer John Standley.

"We’re proud of the excellent service that our pharmacy teams provide Rite Aid customers each and every day," said Dan Miller, Rite Aid’s SVP pharmacy operations. "I’d like to congratulate all of our pharmacy teams across the country on their dedication, which enables Rite Aid to provide services, products and resources to help our customers lead healthier lives."

Rite Aid’s winning Pharmacy Team Member is Cheryl Minix, a pharmacy technician for more than six years at the store in Ada, Ohio. Minix was nominated for being helpful, friendly and asking customers by name how they are doing.

"It was awesome" to see Minix recognized as the first-ever pharmacy technician to receive the award, said pharmacy manager Mike Elliott. "Cheryl is an invaluable member of our team and helps us all look good — the way she always sends customers away on a positive note or goes out of her way to help a customer find a product on the shelf."

Rite Aid’s winning customer, meanwhile, is Holly Smith, a customer of the Birmingham Rite Aid for "at least seven years." Smith makes a point to drive half an hour to see her favorite pharmacy team member, pharmacy manager Bob Hammer.

Although long appreciative of Hammer’s personal care, she nominated the Rite Aid veteran of 34 years not long after he talked her through some complicated insurance changes. She’s also run into Hammer at community events, including a local Step Out fundraiser held annually by the American Diabetes Association. She was thrilled to be selected for the $2,500 prize — and not just because of the money it’ll save her on prescriptions.

"I’m always teaching my kids that it’s the small acts of kindness that make a difference in life," she said of her middle school students at the Bloomfield Hills area school where she teaches. And she can now point to a real-life example that gave her a valuable prize and also the chance to recognize her long-time pharmacist for all he does to "give you a personal touch in an impersonal world."

Established in 2003, the Favorite Pharmacy Team Member contest was expanded to all pharmacy team members for the first time in 2012.


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FDA approves drug for pain during sex due to menopause

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug for postmenopausal women who experience pain during sex.

The agency announced the approval of Shionogi’s Osphena (ospemifene) for women with moderate to severe dyspareunia, a symptom of vulvar and vaginal atrophy due to menopause associated with declining levels of estrogen hormones.

"Dyspareunia is among the problems most frequently reported by postmenopausal women," FDA Office of Drug Evaluation III deputy director Victoria Kusiak said. "Osphena provides an additional treatment option for women seeking relief."

 

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