Take Care Clinics At Select Walgreens Offer Medicare Wellness Visits

Take Care Health Systems, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Walgreens (NYSE: WAG)(NASDAQ: WAG) and the nation's largest and most comprehensive manager of convenient care clinics and worksite health and wellness centers, is now providing the Welcome to Medicare Preventive Visit and Medicare Yearly Wellness Visits at all Take Care Clinic locations throughout the country. The Welcome to Medicare Preventive Visit and Medicare Yearly Wellness Visits are wellness services for Medicare enrollees which include screenings for a number of common conditions as well as education and counseling to encourage wellness and prevent disease.

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) only 6.5 percent of eligible seniors have used their Medicare Wellness Visit benefit. The benefit is available upon enrollment and then once a year with no out-of-pocket costs. With accessible locations inside more than 360 Walgreens and convenient seven day a week hours, Take Care Health can help remove barriers to health care access that may prevent Medicare enrollees from easily accessing care.

“A focus on preventive health care and wellness can play an integral role in improving health outcomes and reducing costs,” said Sandra Festa Ryan, MSN, CPNP, FAANP and chief nurse practitioner officer for Take Care Health Systems. “By providing a simple and easy access point, Take Care Health hopes to help more patients gain the full benefit of their Medicare coverage so they can focus on getting and staying well.”

Upon completion of a Welcome to Medicare Preventive Visit or Medicare Yearly Wellness Visit at a Take Care Clinic, a Take Care Health provider will deliver a personalized wellness plan to each patient with clear explanations of findings and recommendations. A summary of the visit, with patient permission, will also be shared with each patient’s primary care provider and health plan. Information sharing between Take Care Health and a patient’s Medicare Advantage plan provider is enabled by the electronic medical record (EMR) system utilized at all Take Care Clinics.

Seniors taking advantage of the no out-of-pocket cost services have the opportunity to gain insight on proactive steps to improve their health and to identify undiagnosed conditions. In turn, Medicare Wellness Visits through Take Care Clinics may help Medicare Advantage plans improve the quality of care they offer to their membership as measured by the CMS Five-Star Quality Rating System and National Center for Quality Assurance Health Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) guidelines.

The Welcome to Medicare Preventive Visit and Medicare Yearly Wellness Visits are fully covered services at Take Care Clinic for all Medicare Part B members and for millions of patients enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans who have contracted with Take Care Health Systems.

“By expanding our relationship with Take Care Clinic and Walgreens, we were able to strengthen our commitment to offer convenient access to high-quality preventive care to our Medicare Advantage members,” said Nancy Cocozza, senior vice president of Medicare at Coventry Health Care. “We’re pleased that greater access to preventive services at Take Care Clinics will make preventive care even more available to Coventry’s members and improve their health and well-being.”

Take Care Clinics are professional health care centers located at more than 360 select Walgreens drugstores across the country which offer walk-in and appointment availability. Board-certified family nurse practitioners and physician assistants treat patients 18 months and older for common illnesses, offer preventive services such as vaccines and physicals and are licensed to write prescriptions, when necessary, that can be filled at the patient’s pharmacy of choice. Patients can visit takecarehealth.com to schedule an appointment and to view local and up-to-date information on patient satisfaction scores, market-specific quality of care scores, wait times and service costs.

Walgreens pharmacies offer an array of services to Medicare patients including direct billing to Medicare Part B and D, administration of Medicare covered immunizations and prescription drug plan reviews by Walgreens pharmacists to help patients pick a plan that best fits their medication needs.

About Walgreens

As the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2011 sales of $72 billion, Walgreens ( www.walgreens.com) vision is to become America’s first choice for health and daily living. Each day, Walgreens provides nearly 6 million customers the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice in communities across America. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and mail service, along with respiratory services. These services improve health outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. The company operates 7,840 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and most comprehensive manager of worksite health and wellness centers and in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 700 locations throughout the country.

Copyright Business Wire 2010

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