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Walgreens 'Take Care' Clinics Expands, First Retail Store to Care for Chronic Illnesses

Update Date: Apr 06, 2013 02:18 PM EDT

Walgreen Co, the largest U.S. drugstore chain, is expanding their Take Care Clinics to include treatment of diabetes, asthma and other chronic illnesses in a bid to lure new customers including millions from insurance under the Obama's Affordable Care Act.

"With this service expansion, Take Care Clinics now provide the most comprehensive service offering within the retail clinic industry, and can play an even more valuable role in helping patients get, stay and live well," Dr. Jeffrey Kang, senior vice president of health and wellness services and solutions, Walgreens, said in a press release.

"Through greater access to services and a broader focus on disease prevention and chronic condition management, our clinics can connect and work with physicians and other providers to better help support the increasing demands on our health care system today."

Walgreens officials say they will have nurse practitioners and physician assistants at more than 300 Take Care Clinics in 18 states and the District of Columbia to do tests and make diagnoses - and also write prescriptions, refer patients for additional tests and help them manage their conditions. Walgreen said it was moving further along than clinics run by rivals like CVS/Caremark or Wal-Mart Stores.

CVS's in-store clinics, called MinuteClinic, increased same-store sales by more than 38 percent in the fourth quarter, Chief Executive Officer Larry Merlo told analysts in February. Meanwhile, Rite Aid said last month that 58 of its pharmacies in Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are using the Internet to allow customers to talk to doctors and nurses at remote locations.

Obama's Affordable Care Act, which passed Congress in 2010, may extend insurance over the next decade to about 27 million people who are currently uninsured. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 8 million more people will enroll in Medicaid programs next year because of the expansion, which raises income-eligibility limits.

See Now: What Republicans Don't Want You To Know About Obamacare

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