Rite Aid Corp. has launched an innovative, first-of-its-kind health management initiative that links its stores to local doctors with the aim of providing comprehensive care to individuals with chronic health conditions.

Rite Aid, Rite Aid Health Alliance, health management, chronic health conditions, polychronic health conditions, health care coaches, medication compliance, personalized health care, John Standley, Buffalo, Ken Martindale, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Raul Vazquez, Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network, Rite Aid Health Alliance partners, Robert Thompson, drug chain, pharmacy, Cornerstone Health Care, Apollo Medical Holdings, health care delivery

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Rite Aid unveils Health Alliance integrated care program

April 7th, 2014

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Rite Aid Corp. has launched an innovative, first-of-its-kind health management initiative that links its stores to local doctors with the aim of providing comprehensive care to individuals with chronic health conditions.

The Rite Aid Health Alliance is an integrated care model that seeks to help patients achieve health improvement goals established by their physician. It combines the expertise of community pharmacists with specially trained in-store health care coaches.

Patients enrolled in the program will benefit from regular, one-on-one counseling from care coaches and a thorough review of their medication routines. Coaches will go over patients’ individual health care instructions set out by their doctors, establish health goals and create a personalized health care action plan in collaboration with each patient’s physician.

Announcing the program at a launch event in a store here, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, John Standley, said: “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 health care.

“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 well-being. We remain steadfast in our promise to provide customers with the best service and support we can.”

Standley noted that the program puts Rite Aid in a position to play a more active role in the health care system. The extra level of patient engagement afforded by the initiative “represents the real magic of Rite Aid Health Alliance,” he said. “We believe Rite Aid Health Alliance represents the future of health care delivery.”

The program is aimed at patients with such chronic and polychronic health conditions as diabetes, asthma, congestive heart failure and depression. Services include medication compliance support, nutrition and weight management information, exercise coaching, and smoking cessation support.

The launch event was attended by Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown; Dr. Raul Vazquez, president of Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network, one of the first Rite Aid Health Alliance partners; and Robert Thompson, the drug chain’s executive vice president of pharmacy.

“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 health care team,” Vazquez said. “Rite Aid’s Health Alliance program serves as an extension to my practice.”

Rite Aid president and chief operating officer Ken Martindale said: “We spent a lot of time really digging in and trying to identify opportunities within the changing health care landscape. We identified a fairly large gap for patients in between doctor’s visits and, as we identified that gap, we developed a program that has turned into the Rite Aid Health Alliance to specifically try to bridge that gap. And so far it’s been fantastic; the patients’ response has been super.”

He added that the program is currently a pilot, with the new Buffalo project being the third in the country. Rite Aid has already established Health Alliance partnerships with High Point, N.C.-based Cornerstone Health Care and Glendale, Calif.-based Apollo Medical Holdings. During the pilot period more than 2,300 coaching visits have been delivered to nearly 1,500 enrolled ­patients.

While the company intends to make alliances as widely available as possible, Martindale said it is too early to determine the full extent of the rollout and when and where further programs will be launched.

“Our focus on wellness isn’t something that just happened,” he stated. “It’s our long-term strategy, and it’s really who we are and what we’re all about.

“We believe that we can be more than just a retail destination; we see ourselves as an important part of the overall health care delivery system.”