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Scott Nordlund, CHE Trinity executive vice president
Nordlund

CHE Trinity, Walgreen enter coordinated-care agreement


By Andis Robeznieks
Posted: May 21, 2014 - 3:45 pm ET
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(This article has been updated with a correction.)

The nation's largest pharmacy chain and one of the largest healthcare systems plan to work together on “innovative models of care” in select markets.

Walgreen Co., the Deerfield, Ill.-based operator of more than 8,200 drugstores and 400 retail clinics, will collaborate to coordinate patient care with CHE Trinity Health, a Livonia, Mich.-based system that operates more than 80 hospitals where 3,200 physicians practice.

“Coordinated-care programs are vitally important to help ensure patients have access to the quality, convenient, affordable care they need before, during and after a hospital admission,” Alan London, Walgreen vice president of strategic clinical partners, said in a news release (PDF). “Working with an integrated health system such as CHE Trinity Health offers an ideal opportunity to further leverage Walgreens healthcare assets to coordinate patient care across multiple regions of the country.”

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CHE Trinity has operations in 20 states and system spokeswoman Carol Tingwall described the agreement as an “umbrella collaboration” that could vary region to region.

“This agreement does provide a menu of opportunities for each of our local ministries to consider and they will determine which are the most appropriate for their market,” Tingwall said. “These will be local decisions made in local markets.”

Scott Nordlund, CHE Trinity's executive vice president of growth, strategy and innovation, spoke to Modern Healthcare from the annual Non-Profit Health Care Investor Conference in New York, and he said that virtually every presentation at the meeting is focused on forming partnerships that “create access sites outside the acute model” and that “create access to high-quality experiences.”

“I think you're going to see more and more of this,” Nordlund said, adding that many CHE Trinity hospitals are collaborating with Walgreen already and this agreement provides a framework for others to implement their own partnerships more quickly.

Nordlund also said that the system's collaboration would go beyond Walgreen's retail clinic operations and that CHE Trinity was looking to integrate Walgreen's pharmacists into collaborative efforts as well.

The agreement also calls for incorporating information technology, for example, to check a patient's multiple prescriptions for possible harmful drug interactions, said Shelby Decosta, CHE Trinity Health senior vice president for mergers, acquisitions and partnership development. “Having a partner like Walgreens that already has a presence in our communities and has this expertise is a benefit,” she said.

Earlier this year, Walgreen announced that it would have health information technology tools providing patient assessment and “individual predictive analytics” at the point of care available at 400 of its approximately 750 in-store Healthcare Clinics (formerly known as Take Care Clinics).

It also entered into a similar collaborative agreement in January with Centura Health, an Englewood, Colo.-based 15-hospital system jointly sponsored by Catholic Health Initiatives and the Adventist Health System.

Walgreen's main competitor in the retail clinic space, the CVS Caremark Corp.'s Minute Clinics, recently entered into collaborations with four Eastern health systems: Hartford (Conn.) HealthCare; Memorial Health, Savannah, Ga.; Lahey Health, Burlington, Mass.; and Baystate Health, Springfield, Mass.

CHE Trinity's President and CEO, Dr. Richard Gilfillan, topped the 2014 Modern Healthcare list of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives and Leaders. He also topped the list in 2011 when he was director of the CMS Innovation Center.

Follow Andis Robeznieks on Twitter: @MHARobeznieks

(This article has been updated to indicate that Walgreen operates 400 retail clinics.)


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