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Walmart seeks to make optical care more affordable

BY Allison Cerra

BENTONVILLE, Ark. Committed to helping Americans save on out-of-pocket healthcare costs, Walmart announced Thursday it has sharply reduced what customers pay for both contact lenses and youth eyewear.

In an effort to further drive down health care costs, Walmart and 1-800 CONTACTS are working together to help more Americans save as much as 12% to 50% on the costs of a yearly supply of contact lenses.

Walmart’s program with 1-800 CONTACTS offers the convenience of high quality care provided by some of the nation’s finest independent eye doctors, combined with customer support offered by 1-800 CONTACTS’ 24-hour online and telephone customer service representatives to all Walmart customers. Walmart and 1-800 CONTACTS estimate that customers have already saved more than $25 million since the program began rolling nationwide in January 2010.

“At a time when every penny counts, contact lens wearers want to save money and get brand name contact lenses conveniently,” said Jonathan Coon, CEO 1-800 CONTACTS. “We are proud to be working with Walmart. Together, we have eliminated the hassle of mail-in rebates and replaced them with instant savings at the register. Our alliance improves access and lowers costs – enabling contact lens wearers to replace their lenses more frequently and live healthier lives.”

To help families during tough economic times, Walmart has also lowered prices on quality eyewear for children 18 years old and younger. Year-round, parents and caregivers will find youth frames and lenses for as low as $39. Walmart will also provide a one year guaranteed free replacement if the glasses are damaged.

Walmart Vision Center customers will find 18 different youth frame styles and colors for only $10. Additionally, customers have three youth lens options, ranging from $29 to $79.

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Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to receive prestigious health care award

BY Allison Cerra

BETHESDA, Md. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will be honored in Washington, D.C., for remarkable leadership in improving the quality of care for people living with cystic fibrosis, by the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

The NCQA is a private, not-for-profit organization devoted to improving the quality of health care by elevating the issue to the national level. Each year, the organization presents Health Quality Awards to individuals and organizations that show an ongoing commitment to improving the quality of health care. Previous award recipients include Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and actress and advocate Mary Tyler Moore.

The Foundation was among the first health organizations to publish health outcomes data for its accredited care centers. The data is updated annually so people with CF can track the progress of their individual care centers.

“We are honored to receive the Health Quality Award from NCQA for driving improvements in care for people with cystic fibrosis,” said Bruce Marshall, M.D., VP clinical affairs for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. “Increasingly, we’re learning that quality improvement efforts when applied to a chronic disease can have a dramatic impact on patients’ lives.”

The Foundation supports and accredits a nationwide network of more than 115 care centers, which provide vital treatments and resources to patients and families. In 2002, the Foundation launched its quality improvement program to accelerate improvement in care. Since that time, key indicators of health for people with cystic fibrosis — including lung function and nutritional status — have increased across the Foundation’s care center network. Improved lung function and nutrition leads to added years of life.

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Take Care opens clinic in Chicago

BY Antoinette Alexander

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. Take Care Health Systems, which is owned by Walgreens, has announced the opening of a new clinic in the Chicago area.

With the new opening, the clinic operator now has 35 clinics in that market.

In total, Take Care Health now has 340 clinics in 35 markets throughout 19 states.

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