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Postal Service enhances delivery to alleviate holiday hassle

BY Ryan Chavis

WASHINGTON — In an effort to handle the expected double-digit package volume growth this holiday season, the Postal Service on Thursday announced that it would be delivering packages seven days a week in major cities and high-volume areas beginning Nov. 17 through Christmas Day.

"The Postal Service will be out making deliveries every single day during the holiday season, including Christmas Day," said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. "During the holidays, no carrier makes more deliveries to more places than the Postal Service, and this year, we're raising the bar with enhanced tracking and Sunday delivery."
 
The demand for package service has increased as online retailers ship more products out to consumers. The Postal Service expects 450 million to 470 million packages this year, a nearly 12% growth over the same time last year. The Postal Service lowered some of its prices for businesses and frequent shippers. Additionally, new priority mail pricing provides more affordable shipping optins, along with better tracking for its business customers. 
 
"Football has its season. But the holidays? That's our season," Donahoe said. "That's crunch time for us, and year after year, we step up our game. E-commerce package business continues to be a big player now more than ever, so we've enhanced our network to ensure America that we'll deliver their cards, gifts and letters in time for the holidays."
 
The Postal Service will launch an advertising campaign today with an eye on bringing in new consumer and business customers. It also noted that consumers can bypass potential holiday hassles by going to USPS.com to take advantage of online services. A full list of shipping deadlines may be accessed at USPS.com/HolidayNews.

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CVS Health expands reach of Project Health to 27 cities

BY Michael Johnsen

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health on Thursday announced the kickoff and major expansion of Project Health, its annual free health-screening campaign, at select CVS/pharmacy locations. Over the next four months, the Project Health wellness program will deliver more than $14 million worth of free health services to multicultural communities with a significant number of uninsured or underinsured individuals across the United States. More than 1,000 Project Health events will be held at select CVS/pharmacy stores in 27 markets.
 
Project Health offers an array of free comprehensive health risk assessments, including blood pressure, body mass index, glucose and total cholesterol screenings. 
 
"The free, comprehensive health screenings offered at our Project Health events can help identify health concerns or risk factors for participants," said Helena Foulkes, EVP CVS Health and president CVS/pharmacy. "By addressing healthcare challenges, such as ethnic disparities and lack of access to preventive care, we can make a difference in the health and well-being of our customers. It's just one more way we are helping people on their path to better health."
 
Additionally, Project Health will feature CVS Health's smoking cessation program, which was designed with the help of national smoking cessation experts. The program includes four important elements: an assessment of the smoker's readiness to quit; information and tools needed to quit; medication support to help curb the desire to use tobacco; and ongoing coaching to help smokers who are trying to quit stay motivated and prevent relapses.
 
"Smoking is the leading cause of premature disease and death in the United States with more than 480,000 deaths annually," Foulkes said. "By offering a comprehensive and uniquely personalized smoking cessation program at our Project Health events, we are making it easier for our customers to take the first step to a healthier life."  
 
Once screened, CVS/pharmacy will help patients through on-site consultations with bilingual (Spanish/English) nurse practitioners or physician assistants who will analyze results and refer patients who require additional medical attention to no-cost or low-cost medical facilities nearby or to their primary care physician if additional follow-up care is necessary. CVS pharmacists will be available to conduct one-on-one medication reviews and answer any questions patients may have.
 
Project Health events also will offer participants information about the health insurance marketplace and their coverage options under the Affordable Care Act. Health insurance experts will be available to provide guidance and support to those who need it throughout the open enrollment period, which runs from Nov. 15, 2014 to Feb. 15, 2015.
 
Project Health is part of CVS/pharmacy's commitment to improve access to health care and ensure that cost is not a barrier to important preventive services. Project Health events, while held in cities with large multicultural populations, are open to everyone and do not require an appointment.
 
Originally held in 10 major markets, Project Health events will be held in 17 additional cities. The Project Health locations include Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Chicago; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Dayton, Ohio; Detroit; Houston; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Louisville, Ky; Memphis, Tenn.; Miami; Milwaukee; Nashville, Tenn.; New Orleans; New York; Orlando, Fla.; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Pittsburgh; Richmond, Va.; San Antonio; Tampa, Fla.; and Washington. 
 
Project Health events also are being held at select CVS/pharmacy stores in Puerto Rico through November.
 
Since 2006, Project Health has delivered more than $72 million worth of free healthcare services to nearly 730,000 customers. As a result, many areas of concern among participants were discovered:
 
  • 50% were found to be overweight or obese;
  • 41% had abnormal blood pressure readings;
  • 29% had abnormal glucose readings; and
  • 40% were found to have abnormal cholesterol levels. 
Project Health events will be held from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and/or Sundays at select CVS/pharmacy locations, with no appointment needed. For a full calendar of Project Health events, visit www.cvs.com/projecthealth (in Spanish:www.cvs.com/proyectosalud). 
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October sales at Costco up 7% to $8.7 billion

BY Michael Johnsen

 

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco on Thursday reported net sales of $8.7 billion for the month of October, the four weeks ended Nov. 2, representing an increase of 7% as compared to the similar period last year. Comparable sales for the month were up 6% across the company's U.S. operations.
 
For the nine weeks ended Nov. 2, Costco reported net sales of $19.3 billion, an increase of 7% from $18 billion during the similar period last year. same-store sales were up 6% for the period. 
 
"Within our ancillary businesses, hearing aid, optical and pharmacy had the best comp sales and increases," reported David Sherwood, director, financial planning and investor relations, Costco. 

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