Walgreens Take Care Health Systems Forms Collaborative Relationship With Ochsner Health System

Relationship to enhance access to health care resources in the greater New Orleans community and establishes opportunities for clinical collaboration and patient education.

NEW ORLEANS - April 21, 2011 – Take Care Health Systems, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Walgreens (NYSE, NASDAQ: WAG), and Ochsner Health System today announced a new relationship which will increase opportunities for clinical collaboration and improve patient access to high-quality, convenient and affordable health care options in the greater New Orleans region.

Take Care Clinics are professional walk-in health care centers located at more than 350 Walgreens drug stores across the country, including four locations in the New Orleans/North Shore community. Clinics are open seven days a week, including evenings and weekends, giving patients the option to access a variety of health care services at their convenience. No appointment is necessary.

The enhanced relationship between Walgreens Take Care Health Systems and Ochsner will promote information sharing on Take Care Clinics and other health care options when Ochsner care settings are closed or unable to schedule an appointment within a patient's desired timeframe. Professionals at the Ochsner on call nurse system and with the health system's scheduling group will have access to information on Take Care Clinic locations, evening and weekend hours and services available to patients and their families.

Providers at Take Care Clinics will have information available to educate patients on Ochsner Clinics and health care services and will continue to provide patient information on a variety of health care resources as appropriate. If a patient at a Take Care Clinic requires care that falls outside of the setting's scope of service, Take Care Clinic providers can quickly offer the patient a copy of their visit records to share with other providers at Ochsner or other health care facilities.

"The Ochsner Health community is committed to providing the absolute best patient care and experience to the people of Southeast Louisiana," said Warner L. Thomas, president and chief operating officer of Ochsner Health System. "Our exploration of Take Care Health and the quality of care that is provided in Take Care Clinics has clearly shown that we can offer patients one more option as they seek access to affordable and convenient health care services."

Patients today are increasingly looking for affordable, accessible health care options. According to research published in the September 2010 issue of Health Affairs, between 13.7 and 27.1 percent of emergency department visits could take place at retail clinics or urgent care centers, with a potential cost savings of $4.4 billion annually. According to this research, retail clinics, such as Take Care Clinics at select Walgreens, have been shown to save patients $279 to $460 per visit compared to emergency department costs.

"With tens of millions of Americans poised to gain access to health insurance through reform, it's critical that innovators and leaders in health care identify the most efficient and effective ways for patients to access high-quality health care services," said Heather Helle, divisional vice president for Walgreens Consumer Solutions Group at Walgreens. "Relationships with health care innovators such as Ochsner Health System will make accessing care simpler and easier for patients while providing relief to the already overtaxed health care system. Walgreens has and will continue to join forces with health care leaders who strive to offer accessible, quality care for patients."

Research conducted by the Jefferson School of Population Health and published in the American Journal of Medical Quality in September 2010 showed that the quality of care delivered in Take Care Clinics for treatment of pharyngitis (inflammation of the throat) and upper respiratory infections (URI) met or exceeded the quality of care delivered in other settings. Additionally, Gallup research published in August 2010 in Retail Clinician on patient engagement at Take Care Health showed that the Take Care Clinics received the highest satisfaction ratings from more than nine out of every 10 patients, compared to the typical company in Gallup's database that receives the highest satisfaction from just one in every three customers.