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Nurse practitioners are vital to a healthy U.S. healthcare system

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT The USA Today article highlighting nurse-managed centers as one “innovative” program that could help fill the primary care physician void is important because it underscores the important role that nurse practitioners play in delivering quality healthcare services.

(THE NEWS: Nurse-managed centers may fill primary care physician void. For the full story, click here)

It is no secret that the healthcare system has been, and will continue to be, under great strain as healthcare costs soar and a shortage of primary care doctors largely contributes to the bottle-necking taking place within emergency rooms.

According to numbers provided by the Convenient Care Association, as few as 2% of medical students coming out of U.S. medical schools intend to pursue a career in general primary care. Also, between 30% and 60% of convenient care clinic patients reported not having a primary care physician. Plus, as many as 40% of convenient care clinic patients said they would have sought costlier care or would have foregone care completely if there had not been a convenient care clinic available.

Clearly, there’s a gap that needs to be filled, and convenient care clinics and such clinics as the Family Practice and Counseling Network in Philadelphia highlighted in the USA Today article, are striving to help fill that gap.

The good news is that the importance of nurse practitioners, as well as the retail-based clinic setting, is not going unnoticed. In fact, Senators Dan Inouye, D-Hawaii, and Thad Cochran, D-Miss., in July introduced the Senate resolution officially designating Aug. 2 to 8, 2010, as National Convenient Care Clinic Week.

Now, with about 30 million uninsured gaining healthcare coverage under healthcare reform and patients making fewer physician visits, either because they can’t afford it or can’t get an appointment in a timely fashion, the U.S. healthcare systems needs “innovative” programs and needs nurse practitioners.

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Season six of the ‘The Office’ heads to Blu-ray, DVD

BY Allison Cerra

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. The sixth season of documentary-style comedy “The Office” now is available on Blu-ray and DVD.

As part of this groundbreaking set, the Blu-ray release of season six of “The Office” will allow fans to access content like never before via BD-Live. Through their Internet-connected Blu-ray player using BD-Live, purchasers now will have an opportunity to watch the latest five episodes from the seventh season after they air on their home televisions. Season seven episodes will be available in HD, pending individual Internet connection speeds.

This season of “The Office” focuses on the evolving lives of Dunder Mifflin’s hilariously irreverent employees, including Jim and Pam’s wedding and the birth of their daughter, Michael’s affair with a married woman and the acquisition of Dunder Mifflin by Sabre, a printer manufacturer.

The Blu-ray and DVD both are available on Sept. 7 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

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Dollar General looks to sell beer, wine in select markets

BY Michael Johnsen

GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. Dollar General on Wednesday confirmed the company is test-marketing the sale of beer — and wine, where allowed — in select stores throughout the Southeast.

According to published reports, those initial test markets include Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Over time, Dollar General expects to offer beer and/or wine in about half of its 9,000 stores nationwide, the company stated.

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