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Most adults didn’t get flu vaccines last season, analysis finds

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — Just slightly more than one-third of adults aged 18 to 64 got a flu shot last season, compared with two-thirds of seniors and more than half of children, according to an analysis released Tuesday by the Trust for America’s Health.

Analyzing public health data from the 2012-2013 flu season, the TFAH found that 35.7% of young and older adults received the vaccine, while 56.6% of those aged 6 months to 17 years did, as did 66.2% of those aged 65 and older. Overall, 45% of Americans were vaccinated, compared with 41.8% in the 2011-2012 season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends flu shots for everyone aged 6 months and older.

"The trend of low vaccination rates among younger adults is particularly troubling this year, when they are more at risk than usual for the effects of the H1N1 strain of the flu that’s circulating," TFAH executive director Jeffrey Levi said.

Among states, Massachusetts had the highest vaccination rate, at 57.5%, while Florida had the lowest, 34.1%. Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Tennessee were the other states that had vaccination rates of 50% or higher. Meanwhile, Florida, Kansas and Wisconsin saw their vaccination rates fall between the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 seasons.

"It’s easy to become complacent about the flu," Levi said. "We’re used to it; it happens every year, so much so that we forget that it is largely preventable through a quick shot – which I might add is now free to most Americans thanks to the Affordable Care Act. The flu isn’t just an uncomfortable inconvenience; it is deadly and costly. And millions of Americans do not even have paid sick leave, so they either go to work sick – infecting others – or do not get paid."

 

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Colorado’s Centura Health and Walgreens announce coordinated and expanded healthcare services

BY Michael Johnsen

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The healthcare network Centura Health and Walgreens on Tuesday announced a clinical collaboration agreement that will provide coordinated and expanded healthcare services for patients throughout Colorado’s Front Range.

Centura Health will work with Healthcare Clinic at select Walgreens to handle serious conditions outside of the Healthcare Clinics’ scope of services, and will help collaboratively manage the treatment of patients with chronic diseases. The collaboration will include direct communication between Centura Health providers, including Colorado Health Neighborhoods, Centura Health’s clinically integrated network, and Healthcare Clinic nurse practitioners to facilitate care coordination and sharing of patient information, and enhanced awareness of Healthcare Clinic at select Walgreens and the Centura Health network.

Healthcare Clinic providers are able to help monitor, manage and support Centura Health patients with diabetes, asthma, hyperlipidemia and hypertension. While Walgreens and Healthcare Clinic strongly encourage all patients to have a designated medical home for ongoing needs, the collaboration will provide the patients of Centura Health access to quality, non-emergent care seven days a week, with or without an appointment.

“This clinical collaboration further supports our strategic efforts to expand our Total Health Solution to consumers. Centura Health and the Healthcare Clinic at select Walgreens will promote quality care through evidence-based medicine and best practices, and increase convenience through multiple access points, within a service-friendly environment, at an affordable cost,” stated Gary Campbell, Centura Health’s president and CEO. “Working hand-in-hand, this coordinated care model enables us to carry out our combined vision to deliver optimal health care value and support population health management. The result is more people get the right care, at the right time, in the right place, for the right price.”

“Healthcare Clinics are playing an important role in enhancing patient access to quality, convenient and affordable care, and serve as a cost-effective alternative to emergency rooms for non-emergent care,” added Alan London, chief medical officer, Consumer Solutions Group, Walgreens. “The health care system today is facing myriad challenges, and this collaboration enables our nurse practitioners and physician assistants to further coordinate patient care in these communities, working closely with primary care physicians and others to help more people get, stay and live well.”

 

 

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Wholesaler H.D. Smith celebrates 60 years

BY Michael Johnsen

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — H.D. Smith celebrates 60 years of business in 2014, the wholesaler announced Monday. 

The company was founded in 1954 to meet the needs of an underserved region in Central Illinois. Before H. D. Smith opened its doors, pharmacies in the area purchased their pharmaceuticals and supplies through large distributors out of St. Louis, Chicago, Champaign and Peoria, the company stated. 

“I have been proud to watch this company grow. We began with one building, myself and two additional employees who worked together to make sales, pick, pack and ship orders and take care of the day-to-day business," stated Dale Smith, H.D. Smith chairman and CEO. "In those early years, we did not have a fleet of trucks to help us deliver orders. Instead, we partnered with the local paper, The State Register at the time, who delivered pharmacy orders along with the afternoon paper,” he said. “At each fork in the road, we turned challenge into opportunity. Where independent pharmacies once struggled to order products on a schedule that fit their demand, we made sure to meet their needs. We continue that tradition today as we grow beyond the wholesale pick, pack and ship business.”

Over the decades, the healthcare industry has changed and the company has evolved to respond to those changes. “We are partnering with our customers and our vendors in new ways that allow us to serve larger markets and more specialized needs. We have become much more than a wholesaler,” added Chris Smith, H. D. Smith president and COO, “I am thankful for the hard work each and every associate has contributed throughout our company’s history. Those efforts have allowed H. D. Smith to become the success it is today. The first 60 years of H. D. Smith’s history have given us a strong foundation. But I believe that the best is yet to come.”

 

 

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