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Safeway raises $10.7 million for programs that support people with disabilities

BY Allison Cerra

PLEASANTON, Calif. A food and drug retailer and its philanthropic arm raised more than $10 million to benefit people with disabilities and will continue their efforts to support such programs.

Safeway and The Safeway Foundation said the during last month’s annual Support for People with Disabilities campaign, the retailer raised $10.7 million to support Easter Seals, Special Olympics, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Augie’s Quest.

The April campaign is one of two annual Safeway fundraisers supporting organizations that focus on the specific needs of people with disabilities. In 2009 Easter Seals named Safeway one of its all-time top corporate partners, having raised and contributed more than $100 million in over a three-decade relationship.

“We are thrilled with this kind of outcome and are moved and gratified by the generosity of our customers and employees,” said Larree Renda, Safeway EVP, chief strategist and administrative officer. “A fundraising result like this will help Easter Seals and Special Olympics continue to make a real and measurable difference in the lives of people with disabilities.”

Also, as part of the April campaign, The Safeway Foundation gave a $275,000 donation to the nonprofit Rebuilding Together to help renovate homes and facilities that serve people with disabilities. Several hundred Safeway employees volunteered their time by working on the rebuild projects in Dallas; Denver; Chicago; Montgomery County, Md.; Oakland, Calif,; Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; Sacramento, Calif.; San Diego and Seattle.

In addition, Safeway contributed to organizations that assist people with disabilities with job placement, on the job coaching and used the April campaign to urge employers to build a better workplace by hiring people with disabilities.

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Retail clinics: Improved care at a lower cost

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT Retail clinics. Save. Money. Without regard to who’s footing the bill exactly — healthcare payer or Jane Patient — retail clinics not only represent a significant cost savings across the board, but by siphoning nonemergency-yet-still-urgent cases out of the emergency rooms and doctors’ offices, retail clinics also can contribute to improved care across the healthcare continuum.

(THE NEWS: Study: Retail clinics save nonemergency patients money. For the full story, click here)

All told there were 119.2 million total ER visits in 2006, up 8.2% as compared with 2004, according to ACEP. Extrapolate that figure with WellPoint’s finding that 19.4% of those visits may be for nonemergencies across the entire nation, and the fuzzy math equates to an approximate 23.1 million non-emergency patients presenting across some 3,833 ERs. For whoever is paying for the cost of care, that’s an expenditure totaling $10.2 billion if every case were to present at an ER; as compared to $1.2 billion if every case were to present at a retail clinic. That’s the cost savings piece.

But cost savings aren’t the only benefit retail clinics afford the overall healthcare system —  there’s a general improvement in care. According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, average waiting times for patients triaged with non-emergency ailments at emergency departments range between one and two hours, but only when the ER isn’t crowded. That’s like saying that bee stings don’t hurt, you know, except when they do.

Let’s face it, in a nation of 309 million and counting, there are simply not enough points of care, be it for an emergency or nonemergency situation. Taking nonemergency visits out of emergency rooms would likely improve the efficiency of care for more critical patients, as well as the experience of care for noncritical patients. That’s the improved care piece.

Improved care at a lower cost, that’s what retail clinics bring to the table.

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Tide brings Loads of Hope to Dollar General

BY Allison Cerra

NASHVILLE Tide brought its mobile laundromat to a local Dollar General to benefit victims of the recent floods.

Tide’s Loads of Hope program visited a Nashville Dollar General May 12 to provide customers in the area with clean laundry. One truck and a fleet of vans house more than 32 energy-efficient washers and dryers that are capable of cleaning over 300 loads of laundry every day. Tide washs, dries and folds the clothes for these families for free.

The Loads of Hope program also benefited victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, in addition to other natural disasters.

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