Tag: Medical Home

Unintended Consequences

Joe is a guy that never really cared about his health. He is overweight, according to any objective standard, and always attributes this to “bigger muscles” (it isn’t). He dutifully comes in once a year, but admittedly only because of his wife’s insistence. She worries about his lack of exercise, his growing abdominal midsection (“muscle”) and the fact that all he does on weekends is sleep. There is a strong history of heart disease in his family—his father was only a few years older than Joe, when he collapsed at the dinner table and died. Joe always turns down repeated offers for the flu vaccine with the response, “I never get sick,” and shows little interest in his lab results, even though his blood sugar and office blood pressure are always high (“I get nervous at the doctor’s office”) and his “bad” cholesterol has never been even close to normal.

At his last appointment, Joe forcefully slapped a stack of papers on the exam table and seemed agitated. “We had a health screening at work last week,” he explained, “My numbers are out of whack and I need your help.” I wasn’t surprised at the numbers, but his seemingly new interest in his own health had me intrigued until he explained. “I get $50.00 off my health premiums, if my blood pressures are normal and $150.00 for having a physical,” he said. Mystery solved—money supplied by his employer was motivating Joe to get healthy.Continue reading…

Rebuilding The Medical Home: What Walgreens Surely Sees

Walgreens_logo Though it probably went mostly unnoticed in the cacophony of health care stories, last week’s news that Walgreen’s had bought the two largest and most well-established worksite clinic firms, iTrax and Whole Health Management, was a harbinger of very big changes in health care. Walgreens, the ubiquitous drugstore company that, with Wal-Mart and CVS, has already leveraged its pharmacy platform to establish a strong footprint in retail clinics, undoubtedly startled many health care observers with its announcement. After all, isn’t the company doctor a relic?

Actually, no. The worksite clinic – and by way of disclosure for the better part of the last year I have
worked closely with a small, very innovative, Orlando-based startup worksite clinic
firm, WeCare TLC  – has been
reinvented and refitted with 21st century tools, and offers the promise
of nothing less than a paradigm shift toward dramatically better care
at significantly lower cost. Understanding how these structures work and how they differ from both old-fashioned medical practices and retail clinics provides clues into what Walgreens likely sees and why that matters to American health care.

Continue reading…