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Rite Aid announces Health Alliance program

BY Antoinette Alexander

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid introduced on Monday a new program, dubbed Rite Aid Health Alliance, which is a health management collaboration among various healthcare providers that provides comprehensive care and support to individuals with chronic and poly-chronic health conditions and helps them achieve health improvement goals established by their physicians.

Rite Aid’s Health Alliance integrated care model is a first for the drug store industry, the retailer stated, as it uniquely leverages the combined expertise of community pharmacists along with specially trained in-store healthcare coaches.

“At Rite Aid, we’re committed to actively working with our customers to keep them well and that includes developing new ways to improve access to high-quality healthcare,” stated Rite Aid chairman and CEO John Standley. “Through our innovative Rite Aid Health Alliance program, we will help patients with the resources and support necessary to successfully manage their conditions and improve their overall health and wellbeing.”

Through Rite Aid Health Alliance, patients with chronic and poly-chronic conditions, like congestive heart failure, COPD, high cholesterol and diabetes, are recommended to the program by their primary care physician. Rite Aid pharmacists and specially trained care coaches, located in Rite Aid pharmacies, work with the physician and patient on an on-going basis to improve the patient’s overall health and self-management abilities. The care team members collaborate with the patient to establish health goals, eliminate barriers and create a personalized health care action plan in coordination with the patient’s physician.

In addition to Buffalo, N.Y., Rite Aid has also established Rite Aid Health Alliance partnerships with High Point, N.C.-based Cornerstone Health Care and Glendale, Calif.-based Apollo Medical Holdings to provide these services in select Rite Aid pharmacies in Greensboro and High Point, N.C., and the greater Los Angeles area, respectively. Since its inception, Rite Aid Health Alliance has delivered during this pilot period over 2,300 coaching visits to almost 1,500 enrolled patients.

In these markets, Rite Aid provides the care coaches on the team through a partnership with Health Dialog, a provider of healthcare patient support, analytics and decision support. Health Dialog coaches will be available in Rite Aid pharmacies, and specialize in behavior change to help patients address lifestyle health issues.

“We are excited about the results of the program to date and believe it presents a significant opportunity to deliver improved health outcomes for those who need them most. We look forward to bringing this unique healthcare model to more Rite Aid markets and customers in the future,” Standley added.

“As a physician, I know firsthand how much patients here in Buffalo with chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension can benefit from having personalized and frequent contact with their very own healthcare team,” added Dr. Raul Vazquez, president of Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network. “Rite Aid’s Health Alliance program serves as an extension of my practice, providing my patients with convenient access to supportive healthcare coaching outside my office. Since partnering with Rite Aid, we’re already seeing some early improvements in the health of my patients and I am looking forward to continued participation in this program.”

The full range of services available to patients participating in Rite Aid Health Alliance includes medication compliance support; comprehensive medication reviews and reconciliation; nutrition and weight management information; disease education; exercise coaching and tobacco cessation support. Records of all interactions, which occur in Rite Aid pharmacies, as well as updates from the physician, are stored electronically, along with patient profiles including medications and lab results. This supports continuity of care and provides convenient access of information to other members of the patient’s healthcare team.

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NRF: Retail employment drops 6,700 in February

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. – The National Retail Federation (NRF) calculated retail employment was down 6,700 in February 2014, yet up 205,500 year-over-year. The biggest job losses were seen in electronics and appliance stores, and sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores.

December and January retail employment figures were also revised downward. The Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Summary showed that February total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 175,000 with the unemployment rate at 6.7% and the labor force participation rate at 63%.

“Retailers continued to rearrange and maximize their payrolls and inventories following the holiday shopping season,” Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for the NRF, said. “This decline should be temporary in nature and viewed as a speed bump. We really need to lift the snow screen to adequately measure the economy and jobs situation. We remain optimistic for continued economic and employment gains this year and are encouraged by the growth in construction jobs and building material employment last month, which suggests a forthcoming improvement in residential and nonresidential spending along with household and business confidence.”

The NRF also released a statement urging the federal government not to issue any mandates forcing retailers and small businesses to raise their minimum wage, which the NRF said could hamper economic growth and increase unemployment.

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Bi-Lo converts Harveys, Winn-Dixie stores to new banners

BY Dan Berthiaume

Jacksonville, Fla. — Bi-Lo Holdings, LLC, parent company of Bi-Lo and Winn-Dixie supermarket chains, is converting seven existing Harveys stores to Winn-Dixie stores and three existing Winn-Dixie stores to Harveys stores. These stores are part of the pending acquisition of 134 operating stores from Delhaize Group.

Harveys stores in Brunswick, St. Marys and Valdosta, Ga. are affected, as are Winn-Dixie stores in Americus, Albany, and Leesburg, Ga.

Bi-Lo Holdings intends to hire all of the store-level associates in good standing. Schedules and timelines for store conversions will be announced at a later time. Last month, Bi-Lo Holdings received approval from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to proceed with the transaction to acquire the Sweetbay, Harveys and Reid’s supermarket chains from Delhaize Group pending the divestiture of 12 stores by Bi-Lo Holdings and Delhaize Group retaining two stores and converting them to the Food Lion banner.

“We carefully evaluated the market areas around each store and made conversion decisions that we believe will work best for customers,” said R. Randall Onstead, president and CEO of Bi-Lo Holdings. “Customers will not see any change to the level of quality they have come to expect from either banner.”

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