HEALTH

Take Care Health Systems expands services; now offering nebulizer treatments at clinics nationwide

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK The fact that Take Care Health Systems has expanded its service offering to include nebulizer treatments is important for several reasons, one of which is that it will further help alleviate some of the pressure at overflowing emergency rooms.

The move also helps Take Care Health prepare to deal with chronic disease management for asthma in all of its clinics.

With rising healthcare costs, overbooked doctors’ offices and emergency rooms spilling over with patients in need of care, convenient care clinics have emerged as an integral player in the U.S. healthcare system. Providing patients with convenient, affordable and quality healthcare is the mission driving such retail-based clinics as Take Care Health, and easing the strain currently weighing on emergency rooms is certainly part of that equation.

According to National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care data provided by Take Care Health, “diseases of the respiratory system” were the third largest primary diagnosis among visits to the emergency room in 2005 and 2006, comprising of 2.8% and 3.1% of all emergency room visits, respectively.

Furthermore, Take Care Health Systems president and CEO Peter Miller stated that over the past year, its clinics have seen more than 300,000 cases of acute respiratory conditions and its nurse practitioners and physician assistants have written prescriptions for nebulizers or meter dosed inhalers for about 10% of visits.

Clearly, there is a need in the marketplace and Take Care Health has stepped up to further meet that need as patients can now turn to Take Care Clinics for those nebulizer treatments, if deemed medically necessary, and receive prescriptions for nebulizers.

As mentioned earlier, this new service offering also helps prepare the clinic operator to deal with chronic disease management for asthma in all of its 340-plus clinics, and is a nod to the future.

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Military cutting costs via Rx negotiations; NACDS hails finding as pharmacy victory

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Vindicating claims made over the last two years or more by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and other pharmacy groups, the Department of Defense revealed that allowing the military to negotiate with drug manufacturers for lower prices on retail prescriptions is saving taxpayers big sums of money.

NACDS president and CEO Steven Anderson Thursday hailed the findings as a victory for community pharmacies — and for freedom of choice for military members and their families.

The Defense Department revealed that it will spend an estimated $1.67 billion less on prescription drug medications in the 2010 fiscal year than previously projected. Behind the cost savings: a change in the way the agency obtains drug supplies for prescriptions sold in community pharmacies to beneficiaries enrolled in the TRICARE military health program. That change became effective with the release of new DoD regulations in March that allow the military to obtain pricing discounts for prescriptions sold at retail.

Those discounts, generated through direct negotiations between federal procurement officials and pharmaceutical companies, are clearly lowering the costs for the TRICARE program — and for the military beneficiaries who fill prescriptions in local community pharmacies.

“This is a true victory for military service members and their families,” Anderson said. “A rule implemented earlier this year enabled the Department of Defense to obtain pricing discounts for retail prescription medications,” he added. “Those discounts will result in remarkable savings for the Department, which translates to pharmacy choice for TRICARE beneficiaries. Military families will maintain the option to obtain their prescriptions and other pharmacy services from a retail pharmacy.

Anderson cited “an ongoing, multi-year effort” by NACDS to preserve freedom of choice for military beneficiaries, and to prevent the government from discouraging those beneficiaries — via higher out-of-pocket costs — from obtaining their prescriptions at a retail pharmacy rather than through a mail order pharmacy or military base pharmacy. The pricing discounts had long been sought by the retail pharmacy industry as a way to level the playing field between retail and mail order pharmacies serving the more than 9 million military health beneficiaries enrolled in the federal program. Historically, retail pharmacies have operated at a competitive disadvantage vis-a-vis mail-order and military-base pharmacies, because prescription costs were higher for military members and their families if they chose to fill their scripts in a community pharmacy setting.

“The value of a pharmacist in counseling on adhering to medication regimens, preventing possible drug interactions and improving health outcomes is invaluable to all patients, and should not be limited for the brave men and women and their families who serve and sacrifice,” Anderson asserted.

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Drive Medical appoints Mazzacone as new EVP business development

BY Michael Johnsen

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. Drive Medical earlier this week named longtime industry veteran Victor Mazzacone the company’s EVP business development, effective Aug. 11.

Drive Medical manufactures a complete line of durable medical equipment, including mobility products, self-assist products and personal care products.

Mazzacone will be responsible for developing and managing new sale opportunities in the retail, mass merchandise and consumer product areas in the North America.

Mazzacone joins Drive from Novartis, where he served as SVP corporate development for the over-the-counter medical business. During his tenure at Novartis,, he was responsible for overseeing the entire North American sales force for the Gerber baby products and OTC medical business. Mazzacone has also worked at GlaxoSmithKline and has approximately 30 years of experience in the consumer product/retail market arenas.

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