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giant foods partners with us wellness, formerly medica to offer in-store screenings and testing
The next time you are in a Giant Food store, don't be surprised if you see a Wellness Center adjacent to the pharmacy. Giant Food has formed a partnership with Gaithersburg, Md.-based US Wellness, formerly Medica. The partnership will result in the opening of Wellness Centers in 40 Giant stores by the end of 2002.
Chris Cresswell, cofounder and copresident of US Wellness, told Drug Topics, "The reason we picked grocery pharmacies is because of the large amount of foot traffic; 3.3 million consumers visit Giant each week."
The Wellness Centers will be staffed by nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered nurses, and dietitians. Cresswell foresees a role for Giant's pharmacists in offering patient counseling on the results of some of the screenings.
Through a partnership with Quest Diagnostics, US Wellness will offer over 25 laboratory tests, including thyroid, kidney, and allergy tests. The company will also provide patients with a health profile, based on results of a series of tests that measure 85 health variables. Pointing out that the Wellness Centers feature a reception area and a private counseling area, Tori Tomlinson, US Wellness cofounder and copresident with Cresswell, said, "Our goal is to go beyond screening tests to bring lifestyle management programs and continuing education and counseling to patients."
To accomplish this goal, US Wellness has contracted with Gary Foster, Ph.D., professor at the University of Pennsylvania school of medicine, to create a weight-management program for consumers. The program is intended for patients who have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes or who are overweight.
"Once we identify someone at risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes, we encourage that person to take our 90-day challenge. The consumer whose test results are outside the norm can meet with our healthcare professional for at least 90 days on a weekly basis, with the consumer paying for the consultation. The program is modeled after some of the NIH studies conducted on diabetic patients," said Cresswell.
Cresswell explained that since the average consumer visits Giant Food more than twice a week, the Wellness Center has the opportunity to help patients with food selections. "We can help patients focus on their nutrition and educate them on how to read food labels and select the right foods. We'll take a look at the foods they have in their cart and tell them whether they should or should not select a certain product."
US Wellness has also reached a distribution agreement with Golden, Colo.-based HealtheTech Inc., a manufacturer and marketer of medical, professional, and personal health monitoring devices. The agreement calls for the company's BodyGem handheld metabolic device as well as its nutrition software to be available in Giant Food's Wellness Centers. The device will be used by Wellness Center experts to provide patients with a resting metabolic rate (RMR). RMR accounts for the majority of calories a person burns each day.
In a separate development, US Wellness has also partnered with Mid Atlantic Medical Services Inc., a regional health-services company with health plans that cover 1.8 million lives in Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia to offer employer outreach programs. According to Cresswell, "Mid Atlantic wants to promote healthcare services to consumers who are looking for convenient and affordable health-testing services. These services may not always be covered under insurance plans."
Further information is available at the following Web site: www.uswellness.com .
Sandra Levy. US Wellness partners with Giant Food to offer health screenings.