By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health
On May 10, 2016, Walgreens announced it will expand its mental health
services, including access to behavioral health
treatment via telemedicine
, expand customer options for treatment, screenings and awareness. To improve overall mental health
care for patients, Walgreens will offer access to 1,000 therapists and psychiatrists via Breakthrough, an MDLive telemedicine
company. Walgreens recently began a relationship with MDLive, a telemedicine
company, to provide customers with around-the-clock access to physicians
, as well as Mental Health
America. Mental Health Conditions.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about one in five Americans suffers mental health
conditions, which is greater than medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease. But patient adherence to prescriptions is worse for mental health
conditions than physical illnesses, so Walgreens is hoping that its pharmacists
practitioners can have an impact.
“In mental health
, in particular, adherence (to prescriptions) is a major, major challenge,” Walgreens chief medical officer Dr. Harry Leider said in an interview. Less than 50% of Americans who are prescribed medications to treat mental health
conditions take them as directed, if at all, Walgreens said. “Pharmacies
have always been oriented around supporting patients who are on medications for mental health
conditions, but we are providing even more training around medication issues,” Leider said.
The Push for Expansion of Mental Health Care.
Walgreens is one of several large drugstores, like CVS and Wal-Mart, to push further beyond a pharmacy
chain’s traditional role of dispensing and managing customer prescription needs. The pharmacy
giant believes it can make a difference given six million Americans shop at the drugstore chain’s stores each day and some two million people come to digital properties like the company’s web site and mobile.
In further the expansion, Walgreens is working with Mental Health
America, a nonprofit that will help the drugstore giant connect its customers to free community-based screenings for mental health
conditions that include depression, anxiety and bipolar disorders. Walgreens will also work with other experts in the field to improve training and education
of its more than 27,000 pharmacists
and more than 1,100 nurse
practitioners and physician assistants employed at its drugstores. To read more on Mental Health
America, click here
America and Walgreens has set a goal to screen three million people by the end of 2017 to improve care and patient awareness.
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Japsen, Bruce. “Walgreens To Expand Mental Health
Services.” Forbes. (May 10, 2016). Web.
Johnson, Steven. “Walgreens aims to promote greater mental health
awareness.” Modern Healthcare. (May 10, 2016). Web. About the Author:
George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health
Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health
Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com
Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.KeyWords:
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