Sutter Health and Rite Aid Open First Sutter Express Care Medical Clinic in Natomas
New In-Store Medical Clinic Now Seeing Patients;Brings Convenient, Affordable, Quality Health Care to Community
SACRAMENTO, Calif. December 7, 2006 – The Sutter Health network, in partnership with Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE, PSX:RAD), is opening its first Sutter Express Care in-store medical clinic, located conveniently inside the Rite Aid at 2751 Del Paso Road in Natomas. The clinic, one of six that will open this winter in the greater Sacramento area, is a type of in-store health center new to California that allows patients to receive prompt, affordable, quality care for common illness such as strep throat, earaches and the flu. The Sutter Health network is first health care system in California to provide this service.
"Sutter Express Care is the prescription for your busy life," said Lynn Denham-Martin R.N./FNP-C, family nurse practitioner at the Natomas medical clinic. "When your child wakes up Sunday morning with an earache or pink eye, it's easy to visit your local Sutter Express Care in your neighborhood Rite Aid. In only about 15 to 20 minutes, I can diagnosis and treat your child and even order a prescription, so that you can get home quickly."
The medical clinics are open seven days a week, with extended hours from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Sutter Express Care offers a variety of specific health care services that typically can be delivered in 20 minutes at an average cost of $59 per visit. These include diagnosis and treatment for many common illnesses such as bronchitis, sinus infections and allergies. Additionally, the medical clinics provide a number of health and wellness screenings and vaccines. Care is available to children over 18 months of age and adults regardless of where they currently receive physician or hospital care. Sutter Health is actively working with health plans to make Sutter Express Care a contracted provider.
"With this partnership, we will be able to marry easy access to quality, affordable nurse practitioner services with the medication counseling and care already provided by our pharmacists. The convenience and accessibility of the Sutter Express Care in-store clinic located inside neighborhood Rite Aid stores will ultimately help by delivering new customers into the health care system and ensure they get the timely care they deserve before their conditions could progress to more serious illnesses. It's a great combination and clearly supports Rite Aid's focus on health and wellness," said Peter Tenerelli, Rite Aid regional vice president of pharmacy.
The location in Natomas is the first of six Sutter Express Care medical clinics to open in select Rite Aid stores in the greater Sacramento area. Construction is underway on in-store medical clinics in Elk Grove, Greenhaven, Rancho Cordova, Folsom and Roseville. They are slated to open in the coming weeks.
"We understand that people get sick beyond normal business hours but with Sutter Express Care, help is right around the corner," said Denham-Martin. "Our medical clinics provide patients in our communities another option for diagnosis and treatment of common illnesses that need immediate attention. Patients will be cared for by a highly-skilled nurse practitioner, like me, who is committed to delivering the quality care and expertise you expect from the Sutter Health network."
While retail-based clinics like Sutter Express Care are an emerging trend in other states across the country, they are new to California. The Sutter Health network is the first health system to open this type of service in California, according to a July 2006 report by the California Healthcare Foundation.
"As a leading provider of health care here in Sacramento and across Northern California, we want to ensure that patients in our communities who want this type of service receive it from a trustworthy, high-quality source," said Thomas Atkins, M.D., medical director of Sutter Express Care. "Sutter Health and Rite Aid share the same commitment of exceeding our customers' expectations in the areas of service, access, quality and affordability. In working with Rite Aid, we're providing patients with even more access to quality Sutter medical treatment in a timely manner and in a convenient neighborhood setting."
Sutter Express Care medical clinics have physician oversight, follow physician-developed clinical protocols and are staffed by a Certified Nurse Practitioner, a R.N. with graduate level education and training to examine, diagnose and order medications or treatments for patients. Patients who need additional services can access, through referral, the expansive Sutter Health network of physicians, hospitals and other health care service providers.
Additionally, Sutter Express Care clinics are outfitted with the latest in information technology – the electronic health record system, which helps improve care delivery by providing Sutter caregivers with immediate and confidential access to their patients' health information. Sutter Health patients can be assured their physicians will be informed of their medical history, which is updated into a secure record at each visit. Following a visit to Sutter Express Care at Rite Aid, a complete "treatment report" also will be provided to a patient's primary physician – whether or not the person is a patient of Sutter Health - to ensure physicians are always notified of their patient's health care needs.
Rite Aid Corporation
About Rite Aid
Rite Aid Corporation is one of the nation's leading drugstore chains with annual revenues of $17.3 billion and approximately 3,320 stores in 27 states and the District of Columbia. Information about Rite Aid, including corporate background and press releases, is available through the company's website at www.riteaid.com
This press release may contain forward-looking statements, which are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements include our high level of indebtedness, our ability to make interest and principal payments on our debt and satisfy the other covenants contained in our senior secured credit facility and other debt agreements, our ability to improve the operating performance of our existing stores in accordance with our long term strategy, our ability to hire and retain pharmacists and other store personnel, the efforts of private and public third-party payors to reduce prescription drug reimbursements and encourage mail order, competitive pricing pressures, continued consolidation of the drugstore industry, changes in state or federal legislation or regulations, the outcome of lawsuits and governmental investigations, general economic conditions and inflation, interest rate movements and access to capital. Consequently, all of the forward-looking statements made in this press release are qualified by these and other factors, risks and uncertainties. Readers are also directed to consider other risks and uncertainties discussed in documents filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Forward-looking statements can be identified through the use of words such as "may", "will", "intend", "plan", "project", "expect", "anticipate", "could", "should", "would", "believe", "estimate", "contemplate", and "possible".