Rite Aid Corp. has added a major new partner to its Rite Aid Health Alliance collaborative care program.

Rite Aid, Heritage Provider Network, HPN, Rite Aid Health Alliance, collaborative care program, Southern California, accountable care organization, ACO, Ken Martindale, Robert Thompson, pharmacy, Rite Aid pharmacists, Rite Aid pharmacies, Health Dialog, care coaches, chronic and polychronic conditions, Richard Merkin, John Standley, Penn State Hershey Health System, Cornerstone Health Care, Apollo Medical Holdings Inc., Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network, Harold Paz

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Inside This Issue - News

Heritage teams up with the Rite Aid Health Alliance

July 7th, 2014

WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. – Rite Aid Corp. has added a major new partner to its Rite Aid Health Alliance collaborative care program.

Rite Aid president Ken Martindale announces the partnership with Heritage Provider Network at the drug chain's store in Woodland Hills, Calif.

In an event late last month at its store here, the drug chain announced that Heritage Provider Network (HPN), one of California’s largest health care networks, has joined the program. The pilot with HPN marks the largest since Rite Aid unveiled the Health Alliance initiative in March.

Plans call for 30 Rite Aid pharmacies and eight HPN affiliates across Southern California, as well as HPN’s accountable care organization (ACO), to take part in the pilot. The effort was slated to be rolled out in two phases by mid-July.

“With the implementation of health care reform, we must step up to the plate and do our part to help our patients access quality, affordable health care and deliver real results,” Rite Aid president and chief operating officer Ken Martindale said at the event. “Our teams must continue to actively engage with patients and empower them to take greater control of their health. And we’ll do that through engaging experiences that provide them the best products, services and advice to meet their individual needs — like the Rite Aid Health Alliance. We’re really excited about this initiative and its promise to help us play a more active role in the health and well-being of our patients.”

Under the program, Rite Aid and HPN will act as a care team for patients with chronic and polychronic conditions, such as congestive heart failure, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), hypertension and high cholesterol. Rite Aid pharmacists and HPN doctors will work with specially trained care coaches — provided by Rite Aid subsidiary Health Dialog — in selected Rite Aid pharmacies to meet physician-set goals and improve patients’ overall health and self-management abilities.

Patients are recommended to the program by their doctor, and a personal health care action plan is devised in coordination with the physician.

“The Rite Aid Health Alliance uniquely leverages the accessibility and expertise of our pharmacists,” said Robert Thompson, executive vice president of pharmacy at Rite Aid.

Robert Thompson (center), executive VP of pharmacy at Rite Aid, talks with care coaches at the Woodland Hills store.

“The care coaches and Rite Aid pharmacists will provide enrolled patients with the clinical and motivational resources and support necessary to successfully manage their conditions and improve their overall health and well-being in between their doctor visits,” he explained. “This added level of patient engagement represents the real magic of the program and is the reason why it’s so effective. So far, the feedback from our pharmacists, the care coaches, the participating patients and our physician partners has been great.”

Since pilot launches last year, the Rite Aid Health Alliance has delivered more than 2,300 coaching visits to almost 1,500 patients, Thompson said.

HPN affiliates participating in the program include Bakersfield Family Medical Center, Coastal Communities Physician Network, Desert Oasis Health Care, High Desert Medical Group, Lakeside Medical Group, Regal Medical Group, Sierra Medical Group, Affiliated Doctors of Orange County and the Heritage California ACO.

“Patients will be able to receive care not where it is convenient for the health care system but where it is convenient for the patients,” noted Dr. Richard Merkin, president and chief executive officer of HPN. “Together, HPN and Rite Aid will improve health outcomes while reducing long-term-care costs for chronic and polychronic patients. What we are doing today will be the future,” he added.

Earlier in June, Rite Aid announced that the Penn State Hershey Health System, based in Hershey, Pa., and serving central Pennsylvania, joined the Health Alliance as a partner. The drug chain already was piloting Health Alliance partnerships with Cornerstone Health Care, High Point, N.C.; Apollo Medical Holdings Inc., Glendale, Calif.; and the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network of Buffalo, N.Y.

“Across central Pennsylvania, Penn State Hershey has long been known as one of the preeminent health care systems in the country, and like Rite Aid, they share our commitment to providing access to affordable and high-quality health care,” said John Standley, the chain’s chairman and CEO. “We are especially pleased to be working with their physicians to bring Rite Aid Health Alliance to patients in the Hershey and greater Harrisburg area. Together, we will help our patients manage their conditions and improve their overall health and well-being.”

Dr. Harold Paz, CEO of Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Health System, added, “Partnering with Rite Aid’s Health Alliance program is another way in which Penn State Hershey can ensure our patients receive quality care in the most appropriate, cost-effective setting. This program serves as an innovative example of how an academic medical center can work with other community health care providers to help patients with chronic conditions access a full range of resources to help them manage their health.”

Services available to patients in Rite Aid Health Alliance include medication compliance support; comprehensive medication reviews and reconciliation; nutrition and weight management information; disease education; exercise coaching; and tobacco cessation support. To foster collaboration between Rite Aid and primary care doctors, physician orders are transmitted electronically to the care coach and the pharmacist, and reports of all patient interactions within Rite Aid pharmacies are shared with the doctor.

When the program’s launch was announced in Buffalo, Martindale said, “We spent a lot of time really digging in and trying to identify opportunities within the changing health care landscape. We identified a fairly large gap for patients in between doctor’s visits and, as we identified that gap, we developed a program that has turned into the Rite Aid Health Alliance to specifically try to bridge that gap."