Retail giants join payment reform movement

Walgreens becomes ACO; Wal-Mart fuels alternative payment project
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With payment and delivery reforms expected to save $2 trillion in 10 years, retailers are getting in on the action.

Walgreens, for instance, has teamed up with physician groups in three accountable care organizations, the largest U.S. drugstore chain announced Thursday.

Advocare Walgreens Well Network in New Jersey, Diagnostic Clinic Walgreens Well Network in Florida and Scott & White Walgreens Well Network in Texas are among the 106 new ACOs unveiled by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services last week.

The new partnerships make Walgreens the first pharmacy to lead an ACO, NewsWorks reported.

Walgreens is claiming a leadership role in the move toward accountable, coordinated care. It notes that most patients see their pharmacist more than their doctor and that pharmacists best understand the costly issue of medication nonadherence, the article noted.

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart is putting its support behind other team-based, high-value care reforms.

In fact, the retail giant has committed $670,000 to underwrite the efforts of the Arkansas Payment Improvement Initiative (APII), which rewards physicians and hospitals for delivering high-quality, cost-efficient care, Wal-Mart announced Thursday.

"Private companies pay for a large portion of our healthcare costs. So, it is very encouraging to have an organization of Walmart's stature join this important effort," Arkansas Surgeon General Joe Thompson said in a statement.

The first-of-its-kind statewide payment reform involves both public and private payers, according to the APII website.

To learn more:
- read the Walgreens announcement
- here's the Wal-Mart statement
- read the NewsWorks article
- check out the APII website

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