Retail's role, focus on equity, value-based pay amid COVID-19: Takeaways from HLTH 2020

At the HLTH 2020 virtual conference, executives examined how the role of pharmacists is changing. Rite Aid COO Jim Peters said in a keynote speech: "Pharmacists are the most under-utilized providers and can be the missing link in that last mile of health care." Rite Aid is linking its pharmacists with other providers and health plans via virtual...

At the HLTH 2020 virtual conference, executives examined how the role of pharmacists is changing. Rite Aid COO Jim Peters said in a keynote speech: "Pharmacists are the most under-utilized providers and can be the missing link in that last mile of health care." Rite Aid is linking its pharmacists with other providers and health plans via virtual care, and its roughly 6,300 pharmacists are certified as integrative pharmacy specialists to inform consumers about possible non-traditional remedies for their health concerns. Peters also said Rite Aid wants its Elixir business to be the dominant mid-market PBM. In another keynote, Alex Gourlay, co-chief operating officer at Walgreens, said the company has already opened five in-store clinics staffed by VillageMD physicians in the Houston area, with plans to have 40 operational by the end of the 2020 fiscal year and more than 500 operational within the next 5 years. Gourlay also said Walgreens wants it pharmacists to undertake such services as testing, treatment, and vaccinations as part of a holistic care team. To that end, he said Walgreens is investing in technologies to free up its approximately 27,000 pharmacists. Walgreens' health care navigation platform, Find Care, now has about 8.5 million users, and it added telehealth features in April. CVS Health, meanwhile, plans to operate a network of 1,500 HealthHUBs, which devote about 20% of their floor space to health and wellness products and services, by the end of 2021.