Rite Aid Health Alliance adds new care partner

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CAMP HILL, Pa. — Reliance ACO, an accountable care organization in southeastern Michigan, has joined the Rite Aid Health Alliance team-based care initiative.

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Rite Aid pharmacy chief Robert Thompson chats with health coaches at last summer’s launch of the Rite Aid Health Alliance partnership with Heritage Provider Network.

Rite Aid Corp. said Wednesday that Reliance ACO is the eighth health provider partner in the Rite Aid Health Alliance, announced in March 2014. Through the program, Rite Aid pharmacists, in-store health coaches from the drug chain’s Health Dialog subsidiary, and doctors work together as a care team to support patients with chronic and polychronic conditions, such as congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), high cholesterol and diabetes.

“Adding health care providers, such as Reliance ACO, to our Rite Aid Health Alliance portfolio further enables us to provide our communities with unique healthcare resources,” Robert Thompson, executive vice president of pharmacy at Rite Aid, said in a statement. “We look forward to collaborating with our latest partner, Reliance ACO, as we work to bring a broad range of services to patients with chronic and poly-chronic conditions in southeast Michigan.”

Patients are referred to the program by their physician. The care team members collaborate with the patient to set health goals, eliminate barriers and create a personalized health care action plan in tandem with the patient’s doctor. Besides improving the patient’s overall health, the care team works to bolster the patient’s self-management abilities.

The full range of services available to patients participating in the program includes medication compliance support; comprehensive medication reviews and reconciliation; nutrition and weight management information; disease education; exercise coaching; and smoking cessation support.

“Reliance ACO is excited to announce its partnership with Rite Aid Health Alliance. This collaboration represents our commitment to improving patient outcomes and delivering cost effective healthcare,” stated Gene Farber, chief executive officer of Reliance ACO, based in Farmington Hills, Mich. “By partnering with Rite Aid pharmacists and care coaches in our community, our patients will have expanded access to tools and resources to manage their chronic and poly-chronic conditions successfully.”

Rite Aid is currently piloting Rite Aid Health Alliance partnerships with Cornerstone Health Care, High Point, N.C.; Apollo Medical Holdings Inc., Glendale, Calif.; the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network of Buffalo, N.Y.; Penn State Hershey Health System of Hershey, Pa.; Heritage Provider Network, Marina Del Rey, Calif; Physician Direct ACO of Sylvan Lake, Mich.; and Quality Independent Physicians, Louisville, Ky.

“Rite Aid Health Alliance is a unique retail health initiative designed as an extension of the providers’ practice and assists people dealing with chronic health conditions to better manage their conditions and comply with complex medication regimens,” Health Dialog chief operating officer Karen Staniforth said in a recent interview. “The alliance is positioned to improve patient engagement with personalized, frequent contact in a trusted community environment. Health Dialog’s care coaches, Rite Aid pharmacists and health care provider partners work together to form a cohesive care unit for Rite Aid customers.”

Staniforth noted that customers managing one or more chronic conditions talk with a pharmacist 20 times a year.

“Initial feedback from physicians, care coaches, pharmacists and patients alike has been positive, with improved health outcomes being reported,” she said. “The program will continue to evolve, and we will continue to explore additional partnership opportunities as we analyze outcome data and learn from provider and patient feedback.”

The alliance reflects Rite Aid’s efforts to offer a higher level of health care through its pharmacies, according to Jocelyn Konrad, group vice president of pharmacy initiatives and clinical services at Rite Aid. Konrad oversees the relationships with health care system and ACO partners in the program.

“We recognize the importance of disease education and the need to improve the patient’s abilities to better understand their current condition and feel confident managing their health,” she said in an interview this spring. “The learnings from this program will help us develop more robust tools for our pharmacists to assist our patients.”



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