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Walmart annual report points to sustainability progress

BY Katherine Field Boccaccio

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Global responsibility and sustainability continue to be priorities for Walmart Stores. The company filed its proxy statement ahead of its June 5 annual shareholders meeting, and also issued its annual report, and the 2015 Global Responsibility Report and Global Compliance Program Report.
 
The Global Responsibility Report outlined social and environmental work over the past year. Accomplishments, according to the company, include:  
 
• Accelerating job mobility: Last February, Walmart announced a $1 billion investment in higher wages, job training and scheduling enhancements.
 
• Empowering women: Since the launch of its Women’s Economic Empowerment initiative in 2011, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have made $110 million in grants to support women’s economic empowerment. In addition, Walmart has sourced $11.24 billion from women-owned businesses since 2011.
 
• Hiring and supporting veterans: Since Memorial Day 2013, Walmart has hired more than 77,000 veterans, nearly 16,000 as part of its Veterans Welcome Home Commitment.
 
• Lowering the environmental footprint of Walmart’s operations: Advancing toward goal of 100% renewable energy, Walmart continues to expand the development of on-site and off-site solar, wind, fuel cells and other technologies. Today, 26% of the company’s electricity is supplied by renewable sources.
 
• Reducing waste across global operations: Walmart has set a goal of creating zero waste by providing solutions to improve waste data management and reduce and divert food and materials from turning into waste. Walmart U.S. operations operational waste diversion improved to 82.4% in 2014.
 
Walmart Stores’ annual shareholders meeting will be held on Friday, June 5, at 7:30 a.m. in Bud Walton Arena on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville.
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Crisco rolls out new organic oil

BY Ryan Chavis

ORRVILLE, Ohio — J.M. Smucker Co.’s Crisco brand on Thursday announced the addition of Organic Coconut Oil to its portfolio of products, giving consumers a substitute in recipes that call for butter, margarine and other oils. The product doesn’t have a coconut aroma or flavor, so consumers can use it without changing the taste of the food, the company said. 
 
“For consumers looking for a substitute to other oils and butters, Crisco Organic Coconut Oil is the perfect solution in the kitchen,” said Maribeth Burns, VP corporate communications, The J.M. Smucker Company.”  “We’re proud to be expanding our Crisco product offerings with such a versatile product.” 
 
Crisco Organic Coconut Oil may be used a 1:1 replacement ration with oils and butters. The company offered the following tips for cooks:
 
  • Heat the product in a microwave for 20 seconds at a time until melted;
  • When measuring for recipes, use Crisco Organic Coconut Oil in solid form when replacing butter or shortening; using in a liquid form when replacing liquid oils; and
  • Pour melted Crisco Organic Coconut Oil into ice cube trays for pre-measured servings, freeze until firm and then store in the refrigerator until it’s time to use.
Crisco Organic Coconut Oil is available in grocery stores for a suggested retail price of $6.99 for a 27 fl. oz.-jar. 
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Study examines overall ARI antibiotic prescribing at clinics

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — As a growing fraction of acute respiratory infections visits occur at retail-based health clinics, researchers examined the impact of the shift to such clinics and found that, compared with primary care practices and emergency rooms, there was no difference at retail clinics in overall ARI antibiotic prescribing, according to a study published online in The American Journal of Managed Care.

“In prior studies comparing rates of antibiotic prescribing, little difference was observed between retail clinics and outpatient physician practices; however, these were small studies that used a limited set of diagnoses and health plan claims data,” researchers stated. ”In this study, we compared antibiotic prescribing at retail clinics, primary care practices, and emergency departments (EDs) for all ARIs using national data collected directly from the EHR or the medical chart.”

Researchers found that between 2007 and 2009, there were 3 million, 162 million, and 29 million ARI visits, respectively, at retail clinics, primary care practices, and EDs. There were several notable differences in patient characteristics across the three care sites. Children and adolescents made up a smaller fraction of ARI visits to retail clinics (27%) than to primary care practices (50%) and EDs (43%). A smaller fraction of patients reported a chronic illness at retail clinics (4%) compared with primary care practices (20%) and EDs (22%).

The study also found that the mix of ARI visits varied by site of care. At retail clinics, a higher proportion of ARI visits (53%) led to an antibiotics-may-be-appropriate diagnosis (sinusitis, otitis media, and streptococcal pharyngitis) than at primary care physician offices (32%) and EDs (29%).

“In a large, nationally representative sample of ARI visits, retail clinics had an antibiotic prescribing rate similar to that of primary care practices and EDs. This is reassuring evidence that the shift in care to retail clinics will not negatively impact antibiotic prescribing in the United States. The lack of a difference is consistent with the larger literature, that demonstrates that nurse practitioners and physicians provide care of similar quality,” researchers stated.

According to researchers, ARIs account for 60% of all retail clinic visits. Providers at retail clinics independently manage and prescribe medications. State regulations vary on whether nurse practitioners at retail clinics must maintain a collaborative or supervisory relationship with a physician. Currently, there are almost 6 million yearly visits to the 1,600 retail clinics in the United States, and the number of retail clinics is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years.

 

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