Upping the ante in health services, Walgreen Co. is reorganizing its health care businesses under a plan that the company said will enable it to offer integrated pharmacy, health and wellness solutions to a range of clients.

Walgreens, pharmacy, health, wellness, Greg Wasson, Kermit Crawford, Hal Rosenbluth, Joe Terrion, Stan Blaylock, Peter Hotz, Take Care Health Employer Solutions group, Walgreens Health Initiatives, drug store, Take Care, health and wellness division, Walgreens Health Services, WHS, Walgreens Optimal Wellness, Russell Redman

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Walgreens realigns health care businesses

March 1st, 2010
The pharmacy division will spearhead Walgreens' unified health services offering.

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Upping the ante in health services, Walgreen Co. is reorganizing its health care businesses under a plan that the company said will enable it to offer integrated pharmacy, health and wellness solutions to a range of clients.

"Simply put, we are integrating Walgreens 70,000 health care providers, on the front lines of health care across the organization, with a unified sales team offering pharmacy, health and wellness solutions for the benefit of our payer clients and their patients," Walgreens president and chief executive officer Greg Wasson said in a statement.

With the restructuring, announced Monday, Walgreens aims to target employers, managed care organizations, pharmacy benefit managers and government clients with larger-scale health services offering.

"In the past several years, Walgreens has developed a broad set of quality, affordable and accessible pharmacy, health and wellness services unmatched in our industry," Wasson explained. "We are now aligning these services across the entire company, enabling us to provide services to payers as a single, seamless integrated solution."

Under the realignment, the Walgreens Health Services (WHS) Division's specialty pharmacy, infusion pharmacy, mail service pharmacy, medical campus pharmacies, long-term care pharmacy and home care services will move to the company's Pharmacy Division, led by executive vice president Kermit Crawford.

Leading the combined "Pharmacy, Health and Wellness Solutions" sales and client services organization will be Joe Terrion, currently chief client officer responsible for the company's Health and Wellness Division sales and client services organization, Walgreens said. Terrion will continue to report to Hal Rosenbluth, senior vice president at Walgreens and president of its Health and Wellness Division.

In addition, Peter Hotz, Walgreens vice president and president of Take Care Health Employer Solutions group, will now oversee the WHS pharmacy benefit solutions group, Walgreens Health Initiatives Inc. Hotz also will continue to report to Rosenbluth.

"Kermit and Hal will bring together all our pharmacy, health and wellness services and take them to the marketplace as a single, robust integrated offering," stated Wasson. "Kermit's 27 years of experience and strong leadership at Walgreens will ensure that we provide premier service, cohesively and comprehensively across our full range of pharmacy operations. And Hal's strength and decades of experience in leading B2B sales and service organizations will enable us to meet or exceed our clients' expectations for integrated pharmacy, health and wellness solutions."

Citing its "more than 8,000 points of care," Walgreens said the integrated pharmacy, health and wellness Solutions offering will combine pharmacy services (including more than 7,100 drug stores, over 100 medical campus pharmacies, specialty and infusion pharmacy service, mail service pharmacy and long-term care pharmacy); preventive health and wellness services (including retail and work-site health centers and immunization services, home medical equipment and supplies, respiratory services and chronic care management); and pharmacy benefit administrative services (including integrated reporting and outcomes analysis).

The company also reported that Stan Blaylock, Walgreens senior vice president and president of Walgreens Health Services, plans to leave the company in April after a transition period. Blaylock was a co-founder and CEO of Medmark Specialty Pharmacy Solutions before the company was acquired by Walgreens in 2006. He intends to pursue new entrepreneurial opportunities in the health care field, according to Walgreens.

"Walgreens has been fortunate to have Stan's leadership and industry experience at a time when we greatly expanded our specialty and home care businesses," commented Wasson. "He helped to nurture and grow these businesses with a relentless client focus into mature entities, where they can now be fully integrated into our pharmacy operations. We thank Stan for all he did through his vision, his ingenuity and his drive to position our company for the future."

Besides providing a unified offering to payers in the health care marketplace, the restructuring will foster efficiencies across Walgreens' pharmacy, health and wellness operations and provide savings in overhead as some overlapping functions are consolidated, the company added.

The move bolsters Walgreens' position in pharmacy and health care services as rival CVS Caremark Corp. irons out wrinkles in its pharmacy benefit management (PBM) business and tightens that unit's integration with its retail pharmacy business — a strategy that has begun paying off on the top line. In fiscal 2009, CVS Caremark saw double-digit gains in both retail pharmacy and PBM revenue.

Last month, Fast Company magazine named Walgreens as one of the health care industry's most innovative companies. The drug store chain was recognized for its leadership in health care services, ranging from its national network of Take Care health clinics to its efforts in health and wellness services and chronic care management, including the new Walgreens Optimal Wellness initiative.

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