Take Care Health Services is expanding its scope of health care practice to include services for people with chronic conditions.

Take Care Clinics, Take Care Health Services, Walgreens, chronic conditions, chronic disease management, health care, retail health clinic, preventive care, primary care, Jeffrey Kang, Heather Helle, Alan London, clinical affiliations

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Take Care Clinics launch chronic disease services

April 4th, 2013

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Take Care Health Services is expanding its scope of health care practice to include services for people with chronic conditions.

The Walgreen Co. retail health clinic subsidiary said Thursday that the new services — including assessment, treatment and management for chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma and others — are now available at the more than 330 Take Care Clinics inside Walgreens drug stores.

Chronic disease treatment and management represents something of a new realm for retail clinics, which traditionally have focused on preventive care and primary care, such as health screenings and treatment for minor illnesses and injuries.

Walgreens, however, noted that the new clinic services help bridge a gap in patient care and are timely, considering the nation's doctor shortage, aging population, rising incidence of chronic disease and millions of newly insured patients set to gain health coverage via the Affordable Care Act.

"With this service expansion, Take Care Clinics now provide the most comprehensive service offering within the retail clinic industry and can play an even more valuable role in helping patients get, stay and live well," Jeffrey Kang, senior vice president of health and wellness services and solutions at Walgreens, said in a statement. "Through greater access to services and a broader focus on disease prevention and chronic condition management, our clinics can connect and work with physicians and other providers to better help support the increasing demands on our health care system today."

In addition to chronic condition management, Take Care Clinic providers can evaluate, recommend and order preventive health services, such as screenings or lab tests. 

Walgreens cited research indicating that more than one in three patients lack a regular physician. The drug chain, too, pointed to a recent Rand Corp. study showing that the use of walk-in retail clinics has increased tenfold over the past two years, as well as to studies finding that retail clinics provide care for routine illnesses at a lower cost and similar quality to doctor's offices, urgent care centers and emergency rooms.

"The existing gaps in patient care and demands on an already overburdened health care system are all projected to worsen with an influx of new patients under health care reform," stated Heather Helle, divisional vice president of the consumer solutions group at Walgreens. "Walgreens is stepping up to be part of the solution. As innovative care delivery models emerge, we are uniquely positioned to play an integral role in addressing the needs of patients, payers and providers and to help shape the future of health care delivery in the U.S."

Take Care also has been forming more affiliations with metro-area health systems and physician/hospital networks to increase opportunities for clinical coordination and improving patient access to health care services available at its clinics. Through these clinical affiliations, professionals from the health systems share information on Take Care Clinics and other health care options when their locations are closed or unable to schedule an appointment within a patient's desired time frame.

"Our goal is to coordinate with physicians in order to help patients manage their chronic conditions in alignment with their physician’s treatment plan," stated Alan London, chief medical officer for Take Care Clinics. "Walgreens and Take Care Health also continue to develop clinical affiliations with leading health systems to coordinate patient care and to help meet the triple aim of improving health outcomes and patient satisfaction while reducing health care costs."