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New USF clinic a sweet addition to Delhaize-owned Sweetbay

BY Mike Troy

TAMPA, Fla. —The Sweetbay supermarket chain may not be well known outside of west central Florida, but the food chain continues to make a name for itself in national healthcare circles, thanks to an innovative relationship with the University of South Florida.

The 104-unit Sweetbay chain teamed up with the expansive USF Health organization, which operates hospitals and medical colleges, to open its first in-store wellness clinic under the brand name USF Health Neighborhood Care Center. The alliance gives the clinic inside the Sweetbay store instant credibility because USF Health is a name well known to those in the Tampa area, as countless patients receive treatment from USF-affiliated doctors and the university has a student enrollment of roughly 46,000.

The clinic is staffed by nurse practitioners who offer the familiar range of such non-urgent services as physicals, immunizations, health screenings and minor illness diagnosis and treatment. To simplify the experience for customers, the clinic is located adjacent to the Sweetbay pharmacy, which was heavily promoted for the recent grand opening, including a $25 gift card for new or transferred prescriptions. Depending on the diagnosis, the patient benefit that results from Sweetbay’s affiliation with USF Health is that the nurse practitioners can refer patients to the more than 350 doctors who comprise the USF physicians group.

The clinic opening was a significant development for Sweetbay and a continuation of a relationship with USF Health that began last year when Sweetbay was selected to open two pharmacies inside USF facilities. One of those is located inside the new state-of-the-art Carol and Frank Morsani Center for Advance Healthcare. The nearly 200,000-sq.-ft., six-story facility offers outpatient care in such areas as breast surgery; gynecology; ear, nose and throat; general surgery; orthopedics; physical therapy; and plastic surgery—and the Sweetbay pharmacy is located on the ground floor.

If the Sweetbay name is unfamiliar, don’t feel bad. It was created in 2004 when the company underwent a major remodeling effort and abandoned its old Kash ’n Karry name, which had little brand equity. Sweetbay is owned by Belgium-based Delhaize Group, which also owns Food Lion and Hannaford.

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Washington, Mo., considers repealing recently passed PSE legislation

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK The objective here is closing down clandestine methamphetamine labs. The question is: Who is going to bear the cost? And the answer, ultimately, is the consumer.

It seems that one of the primary reasons behind legislation like this, which is also under consideration by the California state legislature as well as several local municipalities throughout Missouri, is cost shifting.

Indeed, one solution that would prevent the practice of “smurfing,” a practice whereby meth addicts exceed their legal purchase limits in pseudoephedrine products by buying across several nearby pharmacies, is electronic logbooking. By granting access to PSE logbooks to law enforcement in real time, law enforcement officers would not only be made aware of a “smurfer” as they were driving between pharmacies, but would also identify who that smurfer was and where they lived.

Setting up that comprehensive electronic logbooking system requires resources, however. State coffers have traditionally been tapped for that purpose, and at least in the case of California, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association has offered to help defray that cost. In the case of Missouri, more than $500,000 has already been earmarked for the implementation of an electronic logbooking system at the state level.

However,  a not-as-much-talked-about cost is also borne by law enforcement, as pointed out by Franklin County Sgt. Jason Grellner in Missouri. After all, it requires additional resources to actually apprehend and prosecute those criminals, he suggested. And a system that better defines who those criminals may be, by his estimation, could cost the state as much as $350,000 per criminal per year.

Therefore, Grellner argues, it’s a fiscal responsibility to take PSE off the OTC market altogether, and require a prescription for the popular decongestant.

That, in a nutshell, is cost-shifting. Because reverse switching PSE translates into less revenue for retailers (and consequently less taxable revenue, as well) for those consumers who choose to forego PSE-provided relief, and for those who don’t, it’s a greater healthcare cost because now consumers have to schedule an appointment with their primary care practitioner and pay the co-pay for that doctor’s visit on top of the cost of the PSE product.

Regardless of how the consumer ultimately pays for the elimination of meth labs — whether through increased taxes to cover escalating law enforcement budgets or through increased personal healthcare costs — there is another argument to be made here. Switching PSE to prescription-only status may result in fewer meth labs busted, but it’s not going to do anything about those meth addicts still on the street. Necessity is the mother of invention, and for addicts, that simply means sourcing their meth from somewhere else.

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