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Boston Mayor decries in-store health clinics

BY Antoinette Alexander

BOSTON On the heels of the Massachusetts Public Health Council approving regulations allowing for in-store health clinics in the state, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino is reportedly looking to ban the clinics from opening in the city.

The decision by the health council “jeopardizes patient safety,” Menino said in a written statement, according to a Boston Globe report. “Limited service medical clinics run by merchants in for-profit corporations will seriously compromise quality of care and hygiene. Allowing retailers to make money off of sick people is wrong.”

The newspaper also reported that, in a separate letter, the mayor urged members of the city’s Public Health Commission to consider banning the clinics from opening within Boston. CVS has plans to open 20 to 30 MinuteClinics in the Greater Boston area but it is unclear how many of those would be within the city’s limits.

Defending its decision to allow clinics to operate, the state Public Health Council issued a statement that read: “The members of the Public Health Council were deliberative and thoughtful in their review of the limited service clinic regulation. We believe these types of clinics, operated either as part of a retail operation or in a nonprofit setting, can provide the public access to safe, convenient, and quality care for minor health issues.”

Officials at MinuteClinic were not immediately available for comment.

On Jan. 9, the state Public Health Council approved rules for limited service medical clinics. The new regulations took effect immediately.

“This is a new model for health care delivery that can benefit many people in the Commonwealth. These regulations will improve consumer convenience and make it easier for non-profit organizations to establish satellite clinics in a variety of settings to serve vulnerable populations,” stated secretary of Health and Human Services JudyAnn Bigby in a statement issued after the approval.

Added John Auerbach, commissioner of the Department of Public Health and chair of the PHC, “Properly regulated, these types of clinics will serve an important function, making care for minor medical care more convenient. The council was mindful of not wanting to create a stand-alone system of health care, so these regulations require coordination and linkages to primary care providers.”

The approval came at the end of a long review process that included two public hearings and the submission of hundreds of pages of testimony regarding the regulations, including testimony in favor of the clinics from the Convenient Care Association.

“We appreciate the Public Health Council’s careful deliberation regarding the adopted regulations that will now guide the operation of limited services clinics in Massachusetts. These retail-based clinics are providing consumers in 35 other states with easy access to high-quality, affordable health care in the face of a nationwide primary care physician shortage. Since this growing shortage is well documented in Massachusetts, and its related health care access issues have been exacerbated by the state’s near-universal healthcare coverage, we appreciate the Council embracing limited services clinics as a partial solution to these serious problems,” said Web Golinkin, president of the CCA and chief executive officer of in-store clinic operator RediClinic, in a statement issued after the council’s decision.

Sparking the move to create specialized regulations for these clinics was CVS’ application to open a MinuteClinic in one of its stores in Weymouth. According to the council, early in the application review process it became clear that DPH regulations governing medical clinics did not address the operation of medical clinics with limited scope of services. Rather than consider applications requiring numerous waivers from full-service clinic regulations, the department decided to create a specialized set of rules.

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Industry companies go eco-friendly

BY Michael Johnsen

New York A highlight of green-friendly companies and what they’re doing:

Whole Foods—The chain last month ditched plastic in its Austin, Texas-area stores in favor of planet-friendly bags, giving consumers a choice between free 100-percent recycled paper bags or the purchase of either a reusable canvas bag or plastic tote. “Austin is serving as a test market for the company with steps in the direction for a companywide ban at checkout early next year,” stated Whole Foods spokeswoman Kate Lowery.

Wal-Mart—In addition to stocking environmentally friendly products in its aisles, Wal-Mart recently introduced reusable shopping bags. The bags, which will be available at all Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and discount stores, are offered at $1 each and are made of recycled polyethylene terephthalate, a woven fabric derived from recycled plastic bottles. According to Wal-Mart’s Live Better Index survey last year, 43 percent of Americans think they will be “extremely green” in the next five years. To help appeal to this growing green consumerism, Wal-Mart has introduced a store-brand compact fluorescent light bulb, which consumes less energy and tracks the adoption of CFCs state by state. Also, Wal-Mart has retooled its laundry detergent planogram to present only concentrated-liquid detergents. The changeover is currently underway in the Southern region, will extend to the North and Midwest regions by the end of next month and finish in the retailer’s East Coast locations by April 2008.

Safeway—Safeway last year converted its truck fleet to B20 biodiesel fuel—fuel that is 20 percent biodiesel made from domestically manufactured virgin soybean oil. The conversion will reduce Safeway’s carbon dioxide gas output by 3,603 metric tons — equivalent to 780 passenger cars not being driven for one year. And the grocer was awarded last year with California’s 2007 Environmental and Economic Leadership Award for Climate Change in recognition of all of the chain’s green-friendly initiatives.

Abbott Laboratories—Abbott last year received the annual Illinois Governor’s Pollution Prevention Award for outstanding environmental excellence for the sixth time in the last seven years. Abbott has been recognized for implementing pollution prevention projects at its pharmaceutical fermentation manufacturing operations in Chicago in 2006. The company also has committed to going “carbon neutral” with its U.S. auto fleet through the use of hybrids and other fuel-efficient vehicles, and implemented an energy policy with specific goals that include reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent by 2011.

S.C. Johnson—Named one of the top 10 leading green companies by Forbes, the company recently instituted its Greenlist process, a classification system that evaluates the impact of thousands of raw materials on human and environmental health. By using Greenlist, S.C. Johnson eliminated 1.8 million pounds of volatile organic compounds from Windex and 4 million pounds of polyvinylidene chloride from Saran Wrap. The company licenses Greenlist royalty-free to other firms that want to use it.

Pentel—The company features a line of products under its Recycology banner, made from at least 50 percent, and up to 100 percent, of recycled content or post-consumer recycled content. The line of products includes pens, markers, pencils, lead, tape and, most recently, umbrellas.

Physicians Formula—The cosmetics company last year introduced a new organic line called Organic Wear. “It is important to note that we will be the first to introduce a 100-percent natural certified organic makeup line to the food, drug and mass channel,” said Ingrid Jackel, Physicians Formula’s chief executive officer. Organic Wear will be the first eco-certified, colored cosmetic line in the United States, she said.

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Alejandro Silva named to Walgreens board of directors; executive promotions announced

BY Adam Kraemer

DEERFIELD, Ill. Alejandro Silva, chairman and chief executive officer of Chicago-based Evans Food Group, has been elected to Walgreens board of directors as an independent director, effective Jan. 9, according to reports.

“We welcome to the board Alejandro’s experience in building a successful consumer products company over the past 22 years,” said Jeffrey Rein, Walgreens chairman and chief executive officer. “His ideas and insight will help us stay abreast of changing consumer habits.”

Seven years after entered the food business in Mexico in 1972, Silva founded a business venture, Alimentos Finos del Norte, in Saltillo, Mexico. In 1985, he acquired Evans Food Group with his brother and another partner, turning it into the world’s largest pork rind snack manufacturer and the largest Hispanic-owned business in Chicago.

Silva has been awarded the Double Eagle Award from the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce; the Latino Globalist Award; Chicago United Business Leaders of Color member; Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame member; and the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Enterprises Development Agency Award.

The company also announced that James Howard is retiring from the board.

Walgreens also announced the following executive promotions:

  • Stanley Blaylock, 44, previously Walgreens corporate vice president and senior vice president of specialty pharmacy and home care for Walgreens Health Services, the managed care division of Walgreens, has been promoted to a corporate senior vice president and president of Walgreens Health Services. Blaylock replaces Trent Taylor, who has left his position at Walgreens.
  • David Van Howe, 49, has been promoted from vice president of purchasing to a corporate vice president. Van Howe joined Walgreens in 2000 as general merchandise manager of beauty and fashion. He was promoted to a divisional vice president in 2004 and oversaw the purchasing department’s health and wellness division before being named vice president of purchasing last April. He has more than 30 years of retail experience, including operations and purchasing positions with Kmart, Arbor Drugs and CVS/pharmacy.

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