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Target forms cyber-security coalition in wake of customer data hacking

BY Alaric DeArment

MINNEAPOLIS — Target is investing $5 million in a coalition of cyber-security organizations to launch a marketing campaign to educate the public about phishing scams and security, the mass merchandise retailer said.

The coalition includes the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance, the National Cyber Security Alliance and Better Business Bureaus.

"Cyber-security is fast becoming one of the biggest marketplace challenges for businesses and a huge concern for their customers," Council of Better Business Bureaus president and CEO Mary Power said.

Target president, chairman and CEO Gregg Steinhafel published an open letter in newspapers across the country to announce the new campaign.

"In the days ahead, Target will announce a coalition to help educate the public on the dangers of consumer scams," Steinhafel wrote in the letter. "We also will accelerate the conversation — among customers, retailers, the financial community, regulators and others — on adopting newer, more secure technologies that protect consumers."

The announcement is being made in the wake of a massive security breach that took place between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 in which payment card data on some 40 million customers were stolen, along with other information, such as names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses on up to 70 million customers.

 

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Most adults didn’t get flu vaccines last season, analysis finds

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — Just slightly more than one-third of adults aged 18 to 64 got a flu shot last season, compared with two-thirds of seniors and more than half of children, according to an analysis released Tuesday by the Trust for America’s Health.

Analyzing public health data from the 2012-2013 flu season, the TFAH found that 35.7% of young and older adults received the vaccine, while 56.6% of those aged 6 months to 17 years did, as did 66.2% of those aged 65 and older. Overall, 45% of Americans were vaccinated, compared with 41.8% in the 2011-2012 season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends flu shots for everyone aged 6 months and older.

"The trend of low vaccination rates among younger adults is particularly troubling this year, when they are more at risk than usual for the effects of the H1N1 strain of the flu that’s circulating," TFAH executive director Jeffrey Levi said.

Among states, Massachusetts had the highest vaccination rate, at 57.5%, while Florida had the lowest, 34.1%. Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Tennessee were the other states that had vaccination rates of 50% or higher. Meanwhile, Florida, Kansas and Wisconsin saw their vaccination rates fall between the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 seasons.

"It’s easy to become complacent about the flu," Levi said. "We’re used to it; it happens every year, so much so that we forget that it is largely preventable through a quick shot – which I might add is now free to most Americans thanks to the Affordable Care Act. The flu isn’t just an uncomfortable inconvenience; it is deadly and costly. And millions of Americans do not even have paid sick leave, so they either go to work sick – infecting others – or do not get paid."

 

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Colorado’s Centura Health and Walgreens announce coordinated and expanded healthcare services

BY Michael Johnsen

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The healthcare network Centura Health and Walgreens on Tuesday announced a clinical collaboration agreement that will provide coordinated and expanded healthcare services for patients throughout Colorado’s Front Range.

Centura Health will work with Healthcare Clinic at select Walgreens to handle serious conditions outside of the Healthcare Clinics’ scope of services, and will help collaboratively manage the treatment of patients with chronic diseases. The collaboration will include direct communication between Centura Health providers, including Colorado Health Neighborhoods, Centura Health’s clinically integrated network, and Healthcare Clinic nurse practitioners to facilitate care coordination and sharing of patient information, and enhanced awareness of Healthcare Clinic at select Walgreens and the Centura Health network.

Healthcare Clinic providers are able to help monitor, manage and support Centura Health patients with diabetes, asthma, hyperlipidemia and hypertension. While Walgreens and Healthcare Clinic strongly encourage all patients to have a designated medical home for ongoing needs, the collaboration will provide the patients of Centura Health access to quality, non-emergent care seven days a week, with or without an appointment.

“This clinical collaboration further supports our strategic efforts to expand our Total Health Solution to consumers. Centura Health and the Healthcare Clinic at select Walgreens will promote quality care through evidence-based medicine and best practices, and increase convenience through multiple access points, within a service-friendly environment, at an affordable cost,” stated Gary Campbell, Centura Health’s president and CEO. “Working hand-in-hand, this coordinated care model enables us to carry out our combined vision to deliver optimal health care value and support population health management. The result is more people get the right care, at the right time, in the right place, for the right price.”

“Healthcare Clinics are playing an important role in enhancing patient access to quality, convenient and affordable care, and serve as a cost-effective alternative to emergency rooms for non-emergent care,” added Alan London, chief medical officer, Consumer Solutions Group, Walgreens. “The health care system today is facing myriad challenges, and this collaboration enables our nurse practitioners and physician assistants to further coordinate patient care in these communities, working closely with primary care physicians and others to help more people get, stay and live well.”

 

 

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