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RetailROI seeking help from retail community to help fight Ebola in Liberia

BY Michael Johnsen

 
 
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Responding to the Ebola virus epidemic, the Retail Orphan Initiative on Monday announced a major campaign to help fight Ebola in Liberia. Working with its partner charities operating in Liberia, the #RetailFightsEbola campaign is rallying retailers, manufacturers and individuals to provide much needed medical and hygienic supplies to Liberia. 
 
RetailROI’s goals are two-fold. First, raise more than $1 million in donated goods from retailers and manufacturers. RetailROI is working to provide specific items requested by its partners and the Liberian Ministry of Health, including first aid supplies, as well as food, clothing and linens to help with practical aid and care for survivors and the more than 3,400 children that are newly orphaned from the disease. Second, raise $250,000 in financial contributions from companies and individuals for immediate relief. The financial contributions will help RetailROI partners provide additional relief until the goods arrive. All of the funds will go directly to Ebola relief; RetailROI is a foundation that is part of the Giving Back Fund, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. 
 
Liberia is one of the world’s poorest countries, with an average national income of only $412 per capita annually. It also is one of the countries hardest hit by Ebola and could see another 90,000 deaths and 171,000 infections by year-end without new efforts against the disease, according to a new study released last week. 
 
“For obvious reasons Liberia’s government is primarily focused on mobilizing hospitals, treatment centers and coordinating with others to help with the treatment and keeping order,” stated Katie Meyler, founder of More Than Me, a RetailROI partner whose original mission was to provide education and opportunity to the most vulnerable girls in Liberia’s West Point slum, but has recently expanded to combat Ebola.
 
“When it comes to practical aid for those most at risk, the vast majority of the work and distribution is being done through community groups and non-government organizations with boots on the ground like us,” Meyler said. “Survivors of this disease lose everything; their entire household and belongings are burned to stop the spread of the disease, and several thousand survivors are now orphaned children.  These funds and resources will be a great help and will save lives and help slow the spread of this disease.” 
 
RetailROI partners, including More Than Me and several others, have successfully reduced the number of new cases by up to 90% in some of the areas hardest hit by the disease, through education, community outreach and delivery of basic medical and hygiene supplies. These efforts have been so successful that the Liberian Ministry of Health reached out to them to expand their work to additional Ebola hotspots within the country.
 
“The goods that Liberia has requested are readily available from nearly any supercenter, drug, clothing or grocery store in the United States,” said Greg Buzek, co-founder and donor trustee, RetailROI. “We are asking retailers and manufacturers to donate products at their cost from overstocks or out-of-season goods. This is retail’s chance to make a difference in the lives of people that desperately need our help at the source of the outbreak and will be key to helping contain this epidemic.” 
 
For more information, to donate or get involved, visit www.retailroi.org/ebolarelief. An informational webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 28 at 2 p.m. EST for those interested in getting involved.  Interested parties can register here for details. 
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MinuteClinic, Lifespan ink clinical collaboration in Rhode Island

BY Antoinette Alexander

 

WOONSOCKET, R.I. and PROVIDENCE, R.I. — MinuteClinic, the retail medical clinic of CVS Health, and Lifespan, Rhode Island's largest health system, which includes five partner hospitals and multiple physician groups, have entered into a clinical collaboration agreement.

The new Rhode Island clinics, opening this fall and in 2015, will be located in Cranston, East Greenwich, North Smithfield, Providence, Wakefield, Westerly and Woonsocket.

The collaboration encourages interaction between Lifespan and MinuteClinic providers to improve coordination and access to care for patients seen at MinuteClinic locations. Both organizations will integrate their electronic medical records to further promote exchange of clinical information, with patients' permission.

For those patients who do not have regular access to primary care, MinuteClinic provides assistance in finding a primary care physician.

"As we have experienced in other states, including Massachusetts and Connecticut, MinuteClinic can support the primary care model in Rhode Island by helping to improve access to care, particularly on weekends and evenings when primary care providers may not be available," stated Andrew Sussman, president, MinuteClinic, and SVP/ associate chief medical officer, CVS Health. "Through our convenient locations, we're pleased that the state's largest health care system has agreed to affiliate with MinuteClinic to increase access and convenience for patients seeking care."

Both MinuteClinic and Lifespan will eventually use the Epic electronic medical record to streamline communication around all aspects of each patient's care. MinuteClinic will electronically share medical histories and visit summaries with the patient's primary care provider at Lifespan. MinuteClinic will also send patient visit summaries to primary care providers who are not affiliated with Lifespan via fax or mail with the patient's consent. MinuteClinic will also participate in Current Care, the state's health information exchange.

Founded in 1994 by Rhode Island Hospital and the Miriam Hospital, Lifespan is an academic health system affiliated with The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Lifespan's partners also include Rhode Island Hospital's pediatric facility, Hasbro Children's Hospital; Bradley Hospital and Newport Hospital. It includes a network of 1,842 affiliated physicians throughout the state.

"We're pleased to collaborate with MinuteClinic to improve access and coordination of care for patients seen at clinic locations," stated John Murphy, EVP, physician affairs, Lifespan. "We will continue to work with MinuteClinic and with our other physician partners to ensure the appropriate level of care is provided in a timely manner to all patients in our community."

MinuteClinic has clinical affiliations with more than 40 major health systems and health care providers across the country.
 

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Three-in-four employees expected to utilize Sam’s Club health exchange if offered

BY Michael Johnsen

 

Sam's Club announced the introduction of a health exchange service in partnership with Aetna, to better serve its small business clientele. With that announcement, Sam’s Club becomes the first retailer to complement its full suite of healthcare offerings — optical, hearing, pharmacy — with a health exchange solution specifically targeting those who are arguably most concerned about health care: small business owners.
 
The move aligns Sam’s Club brands with all things health. “Whenever people visit Sam’s Club at all, I want them to be able to experience health-and-wellness in a way that they leave healthier no matter how they engage with us,” Sherri Thomas, director, managed care services for Sam's Club, told Drug Store News. “If it’s through our pharmacy, optical or hearing services, if they’re engaged in the exchange, if it’s through our health screenings, I want them to be a healthier person because they’re engaged with Sam’s Club.”
 
With the number of small business owners out there, Sam’s Club is about to get a whole lot busier. The company serves about 600,000 small business owners on a daily basis, making those small business owners a core part of Sam’s Club’s member base. 
 
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, there were 28.2 million small businesses (with less than 500 employees) in 2011 (the latest figures). A Kaiser Family Foundation study has confirmed a connection between the size of a firm and whether it offers health insurance. In that year, almost 50% of businesses with three to nine workers offered health insurance benefits to their employees. The ratio grows to 71% for firms with 10 to 24 employees, to 85% for firms with 25 to 49 employees and to 99% for firms with 200 employees or more. 
 
In offering the health exchange, the sweet spot for Sam’s Club are those employers who employ between two and 49 people. “That’s typically what we have at Sam’s Club is those smaller business owners with on average four employees,” Jill Turner-Mitchael, SVP health and wellness at Sam’s Club, told Drug Store News. And to compete with employers larger than them, offering healthcare becomes a key point of differentiation. 
 
“We know that [healthcare] is a place where small employers are very concerned – it’s one of the top issues they bring up to us as an area of concern for them in the running of their small business – which is why we think they’ll opt in.” When Sam’s Club surveyed its member base, 78% were interested in some form of health insurance offering, Turner-Mitchael said. “The fact that Sam’s was willing to go down this path, [they told us] that our membership card would be that much more valuable because of it,” she said. 
 
As many as 31.4 million workers were employed by companies with less than 50 employees in 2011, according to the SBA Office of Advocacy. 
 
That’s a lot of potential covered lives, especially in a still-recovering economy focused on growing jobs. Small firms accounted for 63% of the net new jobs created between 1993 and mid-2013 (or 14.3 million of the 22.9 million net new jobs), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since the end of the recession (from mid-2009 to mid-2013), small firms accounted for 60% of the net new jobs. 
 
As many as three-in-four of those employees offered coverage through Sam’s Club’s exchange will take it. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the employee take-up rate (the proportion of workers who participate in a health insurance plan if it is offered) for workers in small and large firms is fairly similar — 78% of eligible workers in smaller firms (three to 199 workers) participate in their employer’s health insurance plan compared with 83% of eligible workers in larger firms (200+ workers).
 

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