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Walgreens shifts clinics in South Florida to UHealth

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DEERFIELD, Ill. — In its latest retail clinic partnership, Walgreens is transitioning 17 Healthcare Clinics in South Florida to the University of Miami Health System (UHealth).

Walgreens also said Wednesday that it will soon open pharmacies at three UHealth facilities and serve as the exclusive retail pharmacy provider.

Walgreens Healthcare ClinicUHealth will manage and provide all clinical services at Walgreens Healthcare Clinics in 17 of the drug chain’s stores in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Plans call for the clinics to become part of UHealth in the spring of 2017, at which time they will be renamed UHealth Clinic-University of Miami Health System at Walgreens. Walgreens will manage the clinics until that time.

Walgreens is slated to open a pharmacy at UHealth’s Lennar Foundation Medical Center in Coral Gables on Dec. 19, followed by pharmacy openings at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and the University of Miami Hospital in January. The drug chain also will provide 90-day retail prescription benefits and specialty pharmacy services for university employees and their families.

“Walgreens has been a trusted provider of pharmacy and other health care services to South Florida residents and those within the UM community for decades,” Brad Fluegel, senior vice president and chief health care commercial market development officer at Walgreens, said in a statement. “This is a tremendous opportunity to work closely with the UM Health System to help ensure a true continuum of care, with our pharmacists playing an integral role as part of patients’ care teams.

“Forming deeper and more collaborative relationships with health systems is one of the ways in which we’re responding to the changing needs of both patients and our health care system,” according to Fluegel.

Staffed by UHealth nurse practitioners, the UHealth Clinic at Walgreens locations will operate seven days a week, including evenings, giving patients the option to receive a variety of health care services — including treatment of common illnesses and injuries and follow-up care for chronic diseases — with or without an appointment.

“This collaboration is an important step in UHealth’s commitment to improving the health of our community and access to our high-quality clinicians,” stated Steven Altschuler, chief executive officer of the University of Miami Health System. “We will provide a seamless and integrated health care experience for our patients regardless of where they receive their care across our University of Miami Health System.”

Walgreens and the University of Miami Health System also plan to form a joint council to share best practices and experiences to help improve patient care and satisfaction and reduce the cost of care.

“Building from this start, the university and Walgreens intend to explore new approaches to further extend access to routine and specialty care, to improve patient health through enhanced pharmacy services and to utilize innovative ways to reach patients when and where they would benefit,” added John Sory, chief executive of the UHealth Regional Alliance.

UHealth’s network includes three hospitals plus more than a dozen outpatient facilities in Florida’s Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Collier counties, with more than 1,200 physicians and scientists.

The collaboration with UHealth marks the second agreement Walgreens has announced this month to shift the operation of its clinics to a health care system. Last week, the drug chain said Aurora Health Care will own and operate eight health clinics in Walgreens stores across eastern Wisconsin.

Earlier this year, in April, Walgreens said that 27 Healthcare Clinics in its stores across the St. Louis region, including four clinics in Illinois, will transition to SSM Health and become a part of the SSM Health Medical Group. And in January, Walgreens announced that it was turning over the operation of 56 Healthcare Clinics at stores in the greater Chicagoland area to Advocate Health Care.


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