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Rite Aid to Offer In-Store Nurse Practitioner Services

CAMP HILL, Pa. -- Furthering its focus on health and wellness, drug store retailer Rite Aid Corp. here said yesterday it has signed an agreement with Take Care Health Systems, LLC to open health centers staffed by certified nurse practitioners in 10 Rite Aid stores in the Portland, Ore. market by Nov. 1.

The Take Care Health Centers, which will be open seven days a week with no appointment necessary, will be staffed by certified nurse practitioners, who will provide diagnosis and treatment of common family illnesses, administer vaccinations, perform diagnostic screenings, and conduct physical exams. They will also write commonly-used prescriptions to treat illnesses such as strep throat, eye, ear and sinus infections, seasonal allergies, poison ivy and other skin rashes, insect bites, and urinary tract infections.

"With this partnership, we will be able to marry easy access to high quality, affordable nurse practitioner services with the medication counseling and care already provided by our pharmacists. It's a great combination and clearly supports Rite Aid's focus on health and wellness," said Rite Aid president and c.e.o. Mary Sammons in a statement.

Dr. Regina Baime, Take Care's chief medical officer, noted that Take Care takes a team-based approach with other health care providers in order to function as a "much-needed complement to primary care, not as a replacement for it."

While this is the first such retail partnership for Take Care, the company is "actively discussing relationships with other pharmacy companies," a spokesman told PROGRESSIVE GROCER.

The Take Care clinics are similar to those being operated by Minneapolis-based MinuteClinic, Inc. MinuteClinic opened three of its centers, which are staffed by certified family nurse practitioners and physician assistants, in CVS pharmacies last month. There are currently 21 MinuteClinic sites in Minnesota and Maryland, located in both retail and corporate locations, reportedly including Kroger, Cub Foods, and SuperTarget.

Take Care Health Centers are planned for Rite Aid stores in the city of Portland, as well as the surrounding areas of Beaverton, Clackamas, Lake Oswego, Oregon City, Wilsonville, Hillsboro, Milwaukee, and Tigard.

The pilot could be rolled out nationally if the initial tests are successful, according to published reports.

Rite Aid Corp. operates 3,400 stores in 28 states and the District of Columbia.

Take Care Health Systems is based in Conshohocken, Pa.
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