With RediClinic openings, Rite Aid marks next step in its evolution

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NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. — Rite Aid Corp.’s retail health care strategy took a big step forward with the official opening of RediClinic health clinics in two dozen of its stores.

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Rite Aid aims to have 35 RediClinics opened in stores by the end of its current fiscal year.

Ken Martindale, president and chief operating officer of Rite Aid; Robert Thompson, the drug chain’s executive vice president of pharmacy; and RediClinic chief executive officer Web Golinkin were among the executives gathered earlier this month to mark the occasion at a ribbon-cutting for a new RediClinic inside a Rite Aid store in the Philadelphia suburb of Newtown Square.

“This is a big day for us because we’re celebrating 24 RediClinics that we now have open in stores in two markets, the Philadelphia market and the Baltimore/Washington, D.C., market,” Martindale said. “It’s really the next step in the evolution of our stores into health and wellness destinations.”

Fourteen of the new RediClinics are in Rite Aid stores in the Philadelphia area, and 10 are in stores in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C., region.

“Our clinicians will be working hand in hand with our pharmacy teams so we can step up the level of care that we’re providing our patients,” Martindale said.

Rite Aid aims to have opened 35 in-store RediClinics by the close of its 2015 fiscal year at the end of this month. According to Martindale, the company is working to open RediClinics in Seattle-area Rite Aid stores in the spring.

“We haven’t announced numbers, but we are committed to opening additional RediClinics in stores next [fiscal] year,” he said. “We’ll continue to fill in our current markets, and we’re always looking at new ­markets.”

Rite Aid acquired Houston-based RediClinic last April. Before the opening of the Rite Aid clinic locations, RediClinic operated 30 retail clinics in H-E-B stores in the greater Houston, Austin and San Antonio areas.

“Having a RediClinic in a Rite Aid store enables Rite Aid to offer more health care services,” Golinkin said. “Now Rite Aid shoppers can get easy access to high-quality, affordable health care, both treatment of acute episodic conditions and a broad range of preventive services.”

RediClinics are staffed by board-certified nurse practitioners who treat common conditions and provide preventive care in collaboration with doctors affiliated with area health systems. Patients can be treated for more than 30 common medical conditions, and RediClinic clinicians can write prescriptions, which are sent electronically to the pharmacy in the Rite Aid store or to a pharmacy of the patient’s choice.

“We’re part of a health care team inside the store,” Golinkin said. “A reasonably large number of our patients get prescriptions. They don’t have to fill them in the store, but it’s much more convenient for them to walk across the aisle because it saves them another trip.”

Preventive services include immunizations, health screenings, medical tests and physical exams. RediClinic’s Weigh Forward weight/lifestyle management program also is offered at many of its locations.

“We’ve been pretty vocal about becoming a retail health company, and RediClinic fits right into that strategy,” Rite Aid’s Thompson said. “We believe that we’re providing more convenient care options to the communities served by our nearly 4,600 stores.”

With health reform changing the benefits landscape, many consumers are carrying a bigger share of their medical costs and seeking more affordable options for care, Thompson explained. That has opened the door for health care providers like RediClinic, which has served over 1.5 million patients in its 10 years of operation and built a strong reputation for service, he noted.

“We really think the time has come for this model at Rite Aid. We’re excited about it, and our customers are excited about it,” Thompson said.



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