TOMS RIVER, N.J. — Rite Aid Corp.’s RediClinic retail health clinic subsidiary is approaching a milestone.
With the grand opening of six clinics late last month — inside Rite Aid stores in Toms River (two locations), Belford, Little Egg Harbor, Neptune and Old Bridge, N.J. — RediClinic has 99 locations overall. The 100th is due to open soon at a Rite Aid store in Spring Lake, N.J.
These clinics are part of a joint venture announced last August with Hackensack Meridian Health, one of New Jersey’s largest health systems. At the time, the companies said they plan to open 10 clinics — called Hackensack Meridian Health RediClinic — inside Rite Aid stores in Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties. The first three opened late last year at Rite Aid pharmacies in Highland Park, Marlboro and Red Bank, N.J.
“It’s a joint venture between RediClinic and Hackensack Meridian. So both parties have a significant stake in ensuring the success of the partnership. And it’s been a very successful partnership so far, even though we’re only a few months into it,” said RediClinic chief executive officer Web Golinkin, who’s also CEO of Rite Aid’s Health Dialog subsidiary. “Patient volume has been very good. The feedback from our patients has been extremely positive. They really like the accessibility and affordability of the service that we’re offering — as well as, most importantly, the quality of the care.”
RediClinic chief operating officer Danielle Barrera noted that Hackensack Meridian Health has been bullish from the get-go about what the clinics bring in convenience and affordable care.
“We couldn’t be happier with the partnership with Hackensack Meridian. From day one, they’ve seen us as an extension of their network,” Barrera said. “They’re really looking to bring their brand into the community, expand it and treat more patients than they’ve been able to reach before.”
Golinkin and Barrera officially launched the Hackensack Meridian Health RediClinics in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on February 27 at the Rite Aid store on Route 70 in Toms River. Also on hand were Hackensack Meridian Health officials and representatives from Rite Aid.
“From the beginning, part of our model has been to partner with leading health care systems in every market that we serve because we know that this provides continuity of care for our patients when we’re not able to provide them all of the care that they need,” Golinkin said at the event. “In this regard, we’re honored to be partnering with Hackensack Meridian Health, which has the largest integrated care network in New Jersey and a truly national reputation for high-quality, cost-effective care.”
At the new RediClinics, Hackensack Meridian Health nurse practitioners can diagnose, treat and prescribe medications for more than 30 common health conditions, such as upper respiratory infections, flu, strep throat and ear infections. Also provided are a menu of preventive services, including health screenings, medical tests, immunizations and basic physical exams, including back-to-school and sports physicals. The nurse practitioners are supported by medical attendants and Hackensack Meridian Health physicians.
The Hackensack Meridian Health RediClinics are open seven days a week, including extended weekday hours. Patients can been seen on a walk-in basis or schedule same- or next-day appointments from their desktop computer, tablet or mobile device.
“Our goal is to get you in and out quick. And if we write you a prescription, you can have it filled just steps away at the pharmacy here at Rite Aid,” Barrera said at the grand opening. “Our patients love the convenience of being inside their neighborhood Rite Aid and the compassionate and comprehensive care that we deliver.”
Executives said they expect to open more Hackensack Meridian Health RediClinics down the road, given the strong consumer response thus far.
“We’re going to be opening more and more Rite Aid RediClinics,” Hackensack Meridian Health co-CEO John Lloyd said at the event. “This is a great addition to what we already provide. We have urgent care centers, emergency rooms and physician offices, and this gives us another convenient venue to take care of our patients.”
Hackensack Meridian Health’s network includes 13 hospitals, along with physician practices, more than 120 ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, and urgent care and after-hours centers. The system has more than 6,000 physicians.
“This is about convenient care close to home, and it’s about affordability of care,” Hackensack Meridian Health co-CEO Robert Garrett said of the venture with RediClinic. “Health care is really changing today. My belief is that no matter what happens down in Washington with the Affordable Care Act — whether it will be repealed or replaced, changed in a major way or just tweaked — more and more health care is going to be delivered outside the walls of the hospital in outpatient settings like the one that you’re seeing today. And consumers are going to want more affordable care.”
RediClinic currently operates 63 clinics inside Rite Aid stores in the greater Philadelphia; Baltimore/Washington, D.C.; and Seattle areas as well as in New Jersey. It also has 36 clinics in H-E-B supermarkets in Houston, Austin and San Antonio, Texas.