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Study: Walgreens’ WellTransitions program helps reduce readmissions by nearly 50%

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Hospital patients who participated in Walgreens’ WellTransitions program were 46% less likely to experience an unplanned hospital readmission within 30 days of discharge, according to new company research released Friday. 

WellTransitions, a pharmacist-led, transition of care program that collaborates with hospital systems across the nation, helps patients better understand prescribed medications during their hospital stay and remain adherent to medication regimens upon returning home. Walgreens research on the program, presented at the 2014 American Pharmacists Association conference in Orlando, Fla., examined how patients enrolled in the WellTransitions program fared within 30 days of discharge relative to similar patients not enrolled in the program. 

“WellTransitions addresses the growing need for coordinated healthcare programs that can help improve patient adherence to medications, while also helping hospitals reduce preventable readmissions,” stated Bobby Clark, Walgreens senior director of health outcomes and clinical research. “As thousands of hospitals face possible penalties from Medicare for high readmission rates, our findings reinforce the value of pharmacists’ expertise in medication counseling and therapy management, and how working closely to help patients understand medication therapies can be a key driver in reducing unplanned readmissions.” 

Walgreens research shows WellTransitions to be effective across patients of varied ages and conditions. WellTransitions patients younger than 65 years were 44% less likely to be readmitted and those 65 years or older were 48% less likely to be readmitted. And patients with CMS-targeted conditions, such as myocardial infarction, heart failure and pneumonia, were 55% less likely to be readmitted, and those with non-CMS target conditions were 26% less likely to be readmitted. 

Walgreens research examined 744 matched pairs of WellTransitions patients and non-patients in a retrospective case comparison study to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. The study was done by matching patients in the program with similar patients from the perspective of age, gender, race, disease state, comorbidities, insurance type, length of stay, admission status and discharge status.

“Walgreens WellTransitions program should serve as a model for how pharmacist-led and integrated coordinated care programs can improve patient health outcomes and provide an innovative solution to an industry concern,” Clark said.

Preventable hospital readmissions cost the U.S. healthcare system $25 billion annually. An estimated 20% of hospitalized Medicare patients are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge. This costs Medicare $15 billion, with 80% of the cost due to preventable readmissions.

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PepsiCo extends stay at the ballpark

BY Ryan Chavis

PURCHASE, N.Y. and NEW YORK — PepsiCo and Major League Baseball Properties earlier this week announced an extension of their sponsorship agreement, further building on a relationship that has spanned more than 15 years.

PepsiCo will maintain exclusive rights within the non-alcoholic beverage, sports fuel and salty snack categories to use MLB marks and logos. PepsiCo’s brands — which include Pepsi, Gatorade, Aquafina, Frito-Lay Seeds, Cracker Jack and Lay’s — remain official MLB sponsors. Through these brands, PepsiCo will continue to create MLB fan marketing programs at the local and national level, among other initiatives.

"MLB is a terrific PepsiCo partner and provides a strong platform to activate our food and beverage brands in ways that benefit the League, our retail customers and baseball fans across the country," said Jennifer Storms, SVP global sports marketing at PepsiCo. "Opening Day marks the start of a busy selling season for many PepsiCo brands, and we’re delighted to continue our relationship with one of the world’s most iconic sports properties."

Frito-Lay brands (i.e., Lay’s, Cracker Jack and Frito-Lay Sunflower Seeds) will leverage the MLB partnership for sampling and other promotional efforts as the season unfolds, the company said. Frito-Lay also will develop team specific point-of-sale displays in markets where it has a team sponsorship.
 

 

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Dollar General designates April to benefit Autism Speaks

BY Michael Johnsen

GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. — Throughout April, more than 11,000 Dollar General retail locations across the country will collect donations to benefit Autism Speaks, an autism science and advocacy organization.

"For the fifth consecutive year, Dollar General is proud to support Autism Speaks in their research and advocacy efforts," stated Rick Dreiling, Dollar General’s chairman and CEO. "An integral part of Dollar General’s mission of serving others is our commitment to investing in nonprofit organizations that support our customers and communities. Through Dollar General’s commitment to its mission and our customers’ generosity, we look forward to making a positive impact on families affected by autism."

During the month of April, customers may donate any monetary amount at check-out to support the organization’s research and advocacy of autism. Through collections in 2013, Dollar General raised $1.1 million for Autism Speaks.

 

 

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