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Take Care: Patients that use workplace primary care, pharmacy services have higher adherence rates

BY Antoinette Alexander

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. Patients using workplace primary care and pharmacy services have higher adherence rates to medications — nearly 10% higher — for chronic conditions, compared with patients treated in the community, according to a new study conducted by Take Care Health Systems, which is owned by Walgreens.

The findings are significant in that they suggest that investing in integrated workplace health and pharmacy programs can help employers realize healthcare savings, while improving patient outcomes.

“This study truly demonstrates the value of the workplace healthcare model in addressing medication adherence   one of the most challenging and costly obstacles faced by providers and payers of health care,” stated Dr. Sharon Frazee, an author of the study and VP health research for Take Care Health Systems. “Having care accessibly located at the worksite allows employees to build a trusted, face-to-face relationship with both their clinicians and pharmacists, providing an opportunity to engage in a dialogue about their condition and treatment plan, and ultimately, promote patient adherence through education and communication.”

Non-adherence is indeed costly and is currently estimated to cost the U.S. healthcare system $100 billion per year.

While employer-sponsored workplace health programs have been in existence for some time, the study was the first of its kind to examine the relationship between the use of employer health offerings at the worksite and adherence to medications, according to

Take Care Health Systems, which manages more than 700 worksite and retail-based health care centers. Medications used to treat diabetes, heart arrhythmia, hypertension, heart disease and thyroid disorders were included in the study.

The findings, published in the current issue of the American Journal of Managed Care, show that overall adherence to medication was 9.72% higher among patients treated in the workplace than those treated in the community.

Added Allan Khoury, MD, chief medical officer for Take Care Health Systems, “The increased use of generic medications, along with increased adherence, decreases overall medication expense. This leads to better health at a lower cost. This approach is an important lesson for all of American health care. The study was the second portion of a two-part series on the value of integrated workplace primary care and pharmacy services. Take Care Health Systems previously authored a study published in the April 2007 Journal for Health and Productivity illustrating that when doctors and pharmacists work together in a workplace primary care health center, prescribing practices favor older, first-line antibiotics that produce significant savings and provide important therapeutic benefits. The approach, studied at four onsite facilities of an existing Take Care Health Systems client, translated into an estimated potential $1.5 million in savings on antibiotic prescriptions for the host company over three years.”

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Supervalu announces retirement of two executives, change in leadership structure

BY Allison Cerra

MINNEAPOLIS Supervalu has announced the retirement of two key executives.

Mike Jackson, president and COO, and Kevin Tripp, EVP and president of the company’s Retail Midwest region, have resigned. Their last day at Supervalu will be Aug. 14, 2009.

Following the departure of these executives, the company will realign its leadership structure to become more customer-focused. Craig Herkert, who joined Supervalu in May as CEO, will assume the additional role of president. The company’s three retail regions will be combined under Pete Van Helden, who will become EVP retail operations. Van Helden currently serves as EVP Retail West. The company’s Save-A-Lot banner will report to Herkert and Bristol Farms will continue to report to Pamela Knous, EVP and CFO.

The company also will create a new health-and-wellness division to facilitate stronger alignment between Supervalu’s pharmacy operations and its health and beauty offering, creating a total health-and-wellness experience for customers. This new division will be led by Duncan Mac Naughton, EVP merchandising and marketing.

Jackson and Tripp have both been with the company for more than 30 years (Jackson with Supervalu, and Tripp with the former Albertson’s, Inc.) and have held leadership roles in multiple functional areas. “Mike and Kevin have made significant contributions to Supervalu’s growth over the past several years, and have been instrumental in laying the groundwork for our company’s ongoing success,” said Herkert. “We wish them well as they move into a new stage of their lives.”

The company’s new leadership structure will further streamline the critical partnership between its retail operations, pharmacy operations and merchandising and marketing groups so that it can even more effectively anticipate and respond to the changing needs of its customers. “This is another critical step in the implementation of our centrally led merchandising model, designed to fully leverage Supervalu’s scale while preserving our local relevance. Pete and Duncan will work closely together to ensure a smooth and effective transition,” concluded Herkert.

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Hyland’s launches Web site for Latina mothers

BY Michael Johnsen

LOS ANGELES Hyland’s on Wednesday launched ComienzosSaludables.com, a social networking, education-based Web site for Latina mothers.

Comienzos Saludables (translated Healthy Beginnings) continues Hyland’s strategy to improve the availability of, and accessibility to, important healthcare resources for a growing Hispanic population.

“Hyland’s has a longstanding commitment to providing accessible health care,” stated J.P. Borneman, chairman and CEO of Hyland’s. “With 25% of U.S. moms of Hispanic origin, that access, in this case, comes in the form of a Web site full of culturally relevant, in-language educational material for Hispanic families. Our goal is to empower pre- and post-natal Hispanic mothers with information and a community of support as they strive to give their babies the very healthiest start in life.”

The new site offers Hispanic mothers a fully bilingual Spanish/English community to assist with information on pregnancy, infant care, raising a family, healthy lifestyle and treating a family’s health issues with natural medicines.

Addressing the needs of its Hispanic consumer is not a new initiative at Hyland’s. Already, the company has made packaging on 22 products Spanish/English bilingual, developed a baby development calendar in Spanish and sponsored a community health worker program called Salud con Hyland’s.

Studies show that a growing number of Hispanics are online and seeking information in their own language. Specifically, according to eMarketer, 23 million U.S. Hispanics were online in 2008, and that number is expected to surpass 29 million by 2012. Also, according to AOL/Roper Public Affairs Hispanic Cyberstudy 2005, Spanish-language content is important to 75% of Hispanic Web users.

With 70% of Latina mothers under the age of 30, and with an increasing number of Hispanics shown to have a natural affinity for online social networking, Hyland’s expects tremendous response from Latina mothers to its new site. Free membership to Comienzos Saludables will provide access to interactive community tools, including community forums, photo galleries, blogs, personal profile pages, more than 400 articles on family health and lifestyle topics and monthly newsletters.

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