Retail News Breaks Archives
Kroger, Albertson's join diabetes prevention alliance
April 19th, 2011
NEW YORK – Kroger Co. and Albertson's LLC have joined the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance, which will give their shoppers expanded access to community-based programs that can help them detect and better manage the disease.
The food and drug retailers said this week they will support patients enrolled in the alliance's Diabetes Control Program at select store pharmacies. Kroger and Albertson's join UnitedHealth Group, the Y, Walgreens, Novo Nordisk and others as alliance partners.
Kroger has more than 2,400 supermarkets nationwide, and Albertson's operates over 200 supermarkets in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, New Mexico and Texas.
"Managing diabetes is not an easy task. But having a convenient location, such as a Kroger store, where you can get extra support and resources, can make it easier," Lincoln Lutz, vice president of pharmacy for Cincinnati-based Kroger, said in a statement. "We're proud to be a part of the alliance and look forward to contributing to its success in helping to reduce the negative impact of this disease."
Kroger and Albertson's will participate in the alliances Diabetes Control Program, which provides education and support from trained pharmacists to help people with diabetes better control their condition and reduce the risk of developing complications from diabetes, such as nerve, kidney and eye disease. In-store pharmacists at select Kroger and Albertson's locations will conduct blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure testing services and provide patients with on-the-spot results, allowing them to get immediate feedback on their progress.
Currently, Kroger is offering the Diabetes Control Program in Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton, Ohio, and plans to offer it in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Las Vegas later this year. Meanwhile, Albertson's offering the program at stores in Phoenix and Tucson and is slated to make it available at stores in Dallas and in Tampa and Orlando, Fla., later this year.
"Diabetes is becoming increasingly pervasive in the United States and in the communities we serve," stated Raymond McCall, vice president of pharmacy operations for Boise, Idaho-based Albertson's. "By participating in the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance, we are able to offer more specific disease management to participating patients that will help them control their diabetes and maintain a healthy lifestyle."
UnitedHealth Group formed the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance to help address the growing epidemic of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, which threaten to affect more than half of all Americans by 2020 at an annual cost of $500 billion if current trends continue, according to a recent UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization report.
The Diabetes Control Program provides people with diabetes access to trained pharmacists and nurse practitioners who provide personalized coaching and counseling in the convenient setting of a local pharmacy and help patients improve adherence to their doctors' treatment plans. The goal is for patients to improve blood sugar control. The alliance noted that every percentage point drop in HbA1c levels reduces by 40% the risk of developing complications from diabetes, which include heart disease, nerve disease, blindness and limb amputations.
According to the alliance, the pharmacy partners will receive incentive payments based on participants' results, helping to drive performance. For example, Albertson's pharmacies will get incentive payments based on participating patients' weight loss, decrease in blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and improvement in their blood glucose control, as well as reimbursement for each patient's participation. Also, advanced health plan swipe card technology introduced by UnitedHealth will enable the pharmacies to process payments at the point of service and be paid within 24 hours.
The participation of retail pharmacy operators like Kroger and Albertson's extends the reach of the Diabetes Control Program's services, according to Deneen Vojta, M.D., senior vice president of the UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization and one of the chief architects of the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance.
"Offering consumers the choice to visit more locations that are convenient for them will increase the chances that they stick with their doctors' recommended treatment programs and improve their health," Vojta commented.
Services offered by the alliance may be contracted by any health insurer or plan sponsor. According to UnitedHealth, the alliance marks the first time in the United States that a health plan is paying for evidence-based diabetes prevention and engaging pharmacists to support critical diabetes management programs.