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Report: Obama administration won’t make any more changes to birth control mandate

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration will not make any additional changes to its rule that will mandate health insurance plans to provide free contraception to women, despite reports of a compromise with those that were against the requirement.

According to a Reuters report published Sunday, White House chief of staff Jacob Lew said the White House will move forward with the mandate despite opposition from the conservative groups and the Roman Catholic Church (which operates several hospitals and universities), which opposes birth control. Lew also said "no religious organization will be required to pay for or facilitate the coverage that it disagrees with since the insurance companies are the ones who will pay," Reuters said.

Click here for the full report.

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@WAGSocialCare: Walgreens creates dedicated site for Twitter customers

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Friday launched @WAGSocialCare, a Twitter customer hotline that takes on complaints and praise from Walgreens customers via the social media site. The site is being followed only by 20 "tweeters" through Monday, as compared with the more-than 90,000 who follow Walgreens’ corporate Twitter account.

However, there already is a celebrity sighting — the first celebrity tweet to be retweeted on the new @WAGSocialCare came from Tabatha Coffey, host of Bravo’s "Tabatha Takes Over," who tweeted: "@Walgreens I’m [in] love with your ‘Look Boutique’ just went to my first one and sales girls were lovely."

Walgreens’ activity in the social media space so far in 2012 has been substantial. For example, the company’s exclusive partnership with LocalResponse went viral with a recently published Ad Age report. LocalResponse manages a new mobile advertising tool that delivers branded messaging to those consumers who just "checked in" at one of its locations. According to the Ad Age report, Walgreens in January pushed out more than 5,000 messages via Twitter with a Halls cough drops call to action: "Check out Halls’ new cough drops in the cold aisle." Timely, given that January traditionally is a time when incidence of cold and flu begin picking up.

In addition, Walgreens successfully generated some back-and-forth between its patients and Express Scripts over Walgreens’ exit from Express Scripts’ pharmacy network. According to Walgreens officials, the amount of Walgreens pharmacy patients who chimed in on that tweet numbered in the tens of thousands, with a positive-to-negative ratio (regarding their experience at Walgreens) of 12-to-1. The move  drew the social media ire of Express Scripts, which countered Walgreens’ sponsorship of #ILoveWalgreens with a series of six "facts" tweets.

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H-E-B gets hip over the weekend with Saturday in-store dance break for heart health

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN ANTONIO — More than 25,000 Texans, consisting of H-E-B customers and employees, broke out into an impromptu four-minute dance break in support of American Heart Month across H-E-B on Saturday, the grocer announced.

A number of nonprofit and community organizations in each market also joined in the fun and were encouraged to get their hearts pumping by dancing in honor of American Heart Month and Valentine’s Day. “The purpose of the ‘dance break’ was to illustrate how fun and simple fitness can be,” stated Craig Boyan, president of H-E-B. “Health experts recommend that one of the best ways to fight heart disease is by adding exercise to your weekly routine.”

The dance break also was in conjunction with the company’s “Healthy at H-E-B” initiative, a comprehensive, long-term commitment to improve the health of Texans and provide them with fresh, healthy food that is affordable and easy to prepare. “Healthy at H-E-B” includes special offers on healthy food, fitness groups, events and competitions organized around the three critical pillars of health — food, body and life.

“Texas is facing a health crisis,” Boyan said. “The prevalence of obese and overweight adults has doubled in the last two decades. H-E-B wants to reverse this trend and help millions of Texans adopt and stick to a healthy lifestyle.”

After the dance break, customers were encouraged to stay and learn more about protecting and improving their heart health at the free “Second Saturday” screenings taking place in store pharmacies.

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