Pharmacists provide link in pertussis vaccination drive
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The dramatic expansion in the number of pharmacists who can give vaccinations and the range of vaccinations they can deliver has occurred just as an epidemic of whooping cough has spread across the country.
(THE NEWS: NACDS: Pharmacists as vaccinators are key in battle against whooping cough. For the full story, click here.)
The H1N1 swine flu pandemic was arguably the first test of the ability of pharmacies and retail clinics to stanch an epidemic through vaccinations, and overall, they performed well on it. The spread of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, presents another test.
In this case, it’s a matter not just of delivering the vaccine to children and adults, but communicating to people — particularly adults who will have contact with small children — why the pertussis vaccine is necessary. In some respects, pertussis doesn’t quite carry the urgency of pandemic flu; one way to convince people to get flu vaccinations was to remind them of the 1918 influenza pandemic, which took millions of lives around the world, but while pertussis once was a great scourge that killed and hospitalized many children, it never reached the level of horror that the 1918 flu pandemic did.
This is an area where pharmacists can reach people in ways that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other government health authorities can’t. People go to drug stores all the time to buy a wide range of items, and it’s while they’re shopping that retailers can remind them of the need to get vaccinated.
More signs that 2012 is tipping point for convenient care industry
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Just days after Drug Store News reported — once again — that 2012 is proving to be a significant year for the convenient care industry, yet another turn of events further solidified what we’ve been saying for quite some time.
(THE NEWS: Report: South Carolina allowing clinics to enroll as providers in Medicaid. For the full story, click here.)
The Post and Courier has reported that, beginning this month, South Carolina is allowing retail-based health clinics to enroll as providers in Medicaid, a move that will enable Medicaid patients to use clinics for wellness visits, preventive services and to treat acute ailments. The state currently has 25 retail-based health clinics, all of them CVS Caremark-owned MinuteClinics.
The reason is simple: To expand access to care and keep those patients with basic health issues from using high-cost emergency departments, as South Carolina Medicaid director Tony Keck explained.
In fact, a Rand Corp. study published in late 2011 in the American Journal of Managed Care found that care initiated at retail clinics is 30% to 40% cheaper than similar care at physician offices and approximately 80% cheaper than similar care at emergency departments.
The Post and Courier reported that MinuteClinic already is considered “in network” for some South Carolina Medicaid patients who have managed care plans, the article stated, and Medicaid programs in several other states already cover care at retail-based health clinics.
The move in South Carolina comes on the heels of major legislation in Massachusetts.
As reported by Drug Store News, Massachusetts lawmakers passed a massive healthcare bill that brings expanded scope of services, in such areas as monitoring of chronic diseases and prevention and wellness offerings, to patients of limited-service clinics — marking not only a significant milestone for the state’s healthcare system but also for the convenient care industry at large.
The new definition of limited services includes diagnosis treatment, management and monitoring of acute and chronic disease, and wellness and preventive services, all within the scope and practice of nurse practitioners.
We’ve said it before and we’re saying it again — 2012 is shaping up to be a major tipping point for the convenient care industry.
Save Mart raises funds for children’s hospitals
MODESTO, Calif. — Save Mart Supermarkets announced that all of its banners — including Save Mart, S-Mart Foods, Lucky, FoodMaxx and Maxx Value Foods stores — will be raising funds for children’s hospitals in California and Nevada.
Through Aug. 31, the stores will be selling paper icons for $1 at checkout stands, which will be displayed in stores once they are purchased. The hospitals that will be supported include Bakersfield Memorial Hospital; Children’s Hospital of Central California; Oakland Children’s Hospital and Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, all of which are located in California, and Renown Children’s Hospital in Nevada.
Save Mart Supermarkets operates 226 stores throughout northern California and northern Nevada.