HEALTH

Report: Cessation programs fall by the wayside

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK According to a recently published Dow Jones report, state-funded tobacco-prevention programs quickly are becoming the latest casualty of constricting state budgets, prompting concern among public health groups around the nation’s progress toward getting adult smokers to quit.

 

The number of adults who smoke has remained relatively steady since 2004 — 20.6% of the population were smokers in 2009.

 

 

According to the report, the $517 million allocated by states for tobacco prevention and cessation in fiscal-year 2011 is down 9.2% from $569 million a year earlier and 28% less than states spent in 2008.

 

 

“There’s a risk of a setback," said CDC director Thomas Frieden, according to Dow Jones. "The data are very clear. The more we invest in tobacco control, the fewer people smoke, and that prevents illness, disability, deaths and healthcare costs."

 

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Citi’s flu care card pushes employers toward lower-cost retail channels

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK Citi on Tuesday announced the launch of the Citi Flu Care card, a new corporate healthcare payment solution from Citi’s Global Transaction Services. The Citi Flu Care card is a payment service designed to help employers reduce employee healthcare spending by shifting the administration of flu shots from doctors’ offices or on-site clinics to more cost-effective pharmacy locations.

 

According to an examination in June 2010 by a benefits consulting firm, the average cost of a flu shot when factoring in the vaccination and related services rendered is estimated to be $80 or greater when dispensed at a doctor’s office. By using the Citi Flu Care card, the cost per vaccination is $30 or less.

 

 

“The Citi Flu Care card is designed to help employers keep their employees healthy by offering them an easy and convenient way to get a flu shot," stated Dan Miller, SVP pharmacy operations for Rite Aid. "It’s also a good way to get out the message that the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses."

 

Based on industry research, it is the first flu shot card payment product that does not require prepayment, and restricts use to flu vaccinations at more than 17,000 pharmacies and clinics nationwide, including CVS/pharmacy, Rite Aid, Target, MinuteClinic, The Little Clinic and any of the Kroger Family of pharmacies.

 

Until now, companies have relied on corporate on-site health providers or doctor visits for flu shot disbursement, Citi noted. With the Citi Flu Care card, employers can direct vaccinations toward lower-cost retail channels, significantly reducing the average cost per vaccination by 63%. This means substantial and immediate savings for the company and a convenient, no-cost alternative to the employee.

 

 

"For nearly 14 years, Citi has been pioneering corporate payment solutions for a wide array of payment needs, from payroll and incentives to benefits and rebates," stated Paul Simpson, global head of treasury and trade solutions, global transaction services at Citi. "Now, we’re revolutionizing how individuals get their flu shots, providing greater ease, flexibility and access. It’s incredibly exciting to think about the impact this could have on the health and productivity of individuals and our economy as a whole. We’re excited to think about the other applications this product will have in market."

 

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Perform pain reliever sponsors Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series

BY Michael Johnsen

AKRON, Ohio Hygenic/Performance Health on Tuesday announced its Perform pain-reliever brand will be the official external analgesic for the 2010-2011 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series.

 

The recently penned sponsorship deal will generate word-of-mouth for Perform pain reliever across 17 cities in the coming year. All Rock ‘n’ Roll Series events feature a two-day health and fitness expo prior to the event, which all participants must visit to pick up their race packets. It’s at those expos that Hygenics will have the opportunity to actively educate the very consumers who are likely to become heavier users.

 

 

Samples also will be placed in goodie bags given to each and every participant.

 

 

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series also is known for lining race routes with live bands and cheerleaders, attracting high participant numbers and rocking post-race concerts. Today, the series of marathons and half-marathons is held in Chicago, Las Vegas, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, among other major metropolitan areas.

 

 

“Our client base is largely the so-called ‘weekend warrior’— someone who is extremely active in their free time,” stated Scott Matolka, director of marketing for Hygenic’s consumer retail marketing group. “Working with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Series really gives us the ability to communicate directly with those active, high-energy people who are likely to need and appreciate what Perform products offer.”

 

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