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Walgreens, Rx Response augment disaster response solution

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Walgreens and Rx Response on Monday announced a new healthcare collaboration developed to help ensure patient access to medications following a natural disaster. 

"Medications, especially for those with chronic conditions, can be one of the most important health care needs that are difficult to meet in the aftermath of a natural disaster," stated Tim Belka, Walgreens director of global security services. "By giving people a place to go for information and critical pharmacy or health care services during a time of crisis, Walgreens and Rx Response can help with disaster relief efforts for impacted communities."

The relationship centers around the Rx Response Pharmacy Status Reporting Tool and enhancements made to that tool as a result of the Rx Response-Walgreens relationship. The PSRT is an online program that allows emergency managers and the public to readily locate open pharmacies in communities that have been impacted by severe weather or other events. The tool was first developed by Rx Response in 2009.

In partnership with the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs, Emdeon/eRx and Relay Health, the PSRT monitors electronic billing transmissions from pharmacies to insurance processing companies. When a pharmacy is transmitting electronic billing data, it is presumed open and Rx Response posts the pharmacy’s location on an interactive map on the Rx Response website.

Walgreens will be the first U.S. pharmacy chain to provide status reports on its pharmacies directly to Rx Response, to help ensure more timely reporting on Walgreens stores able to help serve impacted communities.

The tool most recently was deployed in response to Hurricane Isaac and its enhanced capabilities provided federal, state and local emergency management officials with valuable assistance in the days following the hurricane.


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Jewel-Osco to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

BY Michael Johnsen

ITASCA, Ill. — Supervalu’s Jewel-Osco banner will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with its 5th Annual “Sabor de la Herencia Hispana” signature VIP reception on Sept. 27 at the National Museum of Mexican Art, the retailer announced Monday. 

"We are proud to observe Hispanic Heritage Month with events that celebrate the culture and traditions of the Latino community," Jewel-Osco president Brian Huff said. "Sabor de la Herencia Hispana was designed to honor the Hispanic vendors whose products we carry on our shelves, as well as to support the culinary talents of Hispanic youth and recognize the exceptional contributions of this vibrant community."

Highlights of this year’s reception include:

  • A presentation of $20,000 in grants to local organizations that are being recognized for their efforts and commitment to enriching the Hispanic communities they serve. The four charitable contributions are being awarded to St. Pius Church community kitchen, San José Obrero Mission, the United Neighborhood Organization and St. Augustine College;

  • A special celebrity appearance by Puerto Rican actress, model and TV host Adamari Lopez, who will speak about her battle against breast cancer and how she has teamed up with Yoplait’s Save Lids to Save Lives tour in efforts to help Latina women understand the importance of early detection; and

  • An array of exclusive dishes developed by culinary students from Chicago’s St. Augustine College, showcasing the unique flavors and richness of Latin cuisine. The students will prepare signature Latin-American recipes that incorporate an array of Hispanic vendor products.

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McKesson taps Medco Health Solutions exec to lead Health Mart franchise group

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN FRANCISCO — McKesson on Monday named Steve Courtman president of Health Mart, a franchise of 3,000 independently owned pharmacies. Courtman brings 25 years of industry experience with a track record for delivering business growth through technology, product innovation and sound leadership. 

“Health Mart owners and pharmacists are passionate about the success of independent pharmacy and delivering exceptional customer service, and Steve shares that commitment,” stated Brian Tyler, president, McKesson U.S. Pharmaceutical. “Through his deep understanding of retail pharmacy and the changing reimbursement landscape, he is uniquely qualified to lead Health Mart’s continued success.”

As Health Mart president, Courtman will focus on shaping the future of the franchise. He will work with Health Mart members and McKesson leadership to leverage the power and expertise of the group’s 3,000 independent pharmacies, while driving the rapid adoption of operational efficiencies, technology innovation and expanded clinical capabilities. Ultimately, Courtman will focus on driving business success for member pharmacies, allowing them to focus on the delivery of quality patient care, McKesson stated. 

Prior to joining Health Mart, Courtman served as SVP retail markets at Medco Health Solutions, where he was responsible for contracting with independent and chain pharmacies and the creation of pharmacy networks to deliver value to plan sponsors. Previously, Courtman served in various capacities in the aerospace, automotive, healthcare and restaurant-franchise industries. 

He earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of London and an MBA from the University of Michigan.

Health Mart also announced that it has reached the significant milestone of 3,000 member pharmacies this month.


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