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Giant Eagle® and University Hospitals Partner to Deliver FastCare In-Store Retail Health Clinics

Independent RAND Corporation study finds that retail clinics offer high level of care, and cost significantly less than physician office or emergency room visits.

CLEVELAND – Giant Eagle, Inc. and University Hospitals today announced a joint effort to open the first of four walk-in retail health clinics, located in the Giant Eagle supermarket at Legacy Village in Lyndhurst. The partners plan on opening three additional clinics in Giant Eagle supermarkets located in Northeast Ohio in the future.

Called University Hospitals FastCare, the clinics offer a convenient extension to primary care physicians and urgent care centers by allowing for diagnosis and treatment of many basic acute episodic health conditions. Among the types of conditions treated at University Hospitals FastCare clinics are sore and strep throats, fevers, flu and colds, ear and sinus infections, bronchitis, pink eye, bladder infections, and allergies.

University Hospitals FastCare, open 7 days a week, is uniquely staffed by University Hospitals (UH) nurse practitioners and provides high quality, evidence-based medicine that is the hallmark of the UH health system. UH FastCare is linked to UH physicians, providing convenient access to University Hospitals’ community-based services. Upon registration, patient records are integrated with UH physician records. Additionally, UH FastCare will offer to send each patient’s primary care physician a report following any visit.

“Our partnership with University Hospitals takes our commitment to overall consumer health and wellness to a new level,” says Giant Eagle Pharmacy® Vice President Randy Heiser. “Our University Hospitals FastCare clinics provide Giant Eagle customers with fast and consistent access to a wide range of common medical services to accelerate their road to wellness. They create options that help to avoid costly trips to the emergency room and provide access to care when their own doctor’s offices are closed. As an added convenience, we can also meet customers’ prescription needs if they choose our on-site Giant Eagle Pharmacy.”

Heiser said that customers have reacted well to the company’s first in-store retail health clinic, which opened in one of Giant Eagle’s West Virginia stores in January. The clinics build on the company’s ongoing initiative to offer a broader range of health, beauty and wellness services, products and education via expanded in-store health and wellness departments. These departments are currently in select Ohio and Pennsylvania locations.

“University Hospitals is proud to work with Giant Eagle to create these clinics where patients have access to high quality, convenient and affordable care,” said Michael Nochomovitz, MD, President of University Hospitals Physician Services. “The UH FastCare clinics are yet another extension of University Hospitals’ integrated health system which is uniquely partnered with our physician network. With the addition of this new program, UH now offers the full continuum of care of services ranging from retail clinics to urgent care, corporate health, ambulatory and hospital services as well as nationally renowned Centers of Excellence based at our academic medical center - UH Case Medical Center. Partnering with Giant Eagle is an effective use of our mutual strengths and a way of bringing needed services in an innovative venue to the families of northeast Ohio.”

“FastCare is excited to partner with Giant Eagle and University Hospitals to bring integrated, convenient, seven day a week care to the Cleveland area. This service will improve access to care and help patients and employers minimize unnecessary emergency room visits and lower health care costs”, said Ken Berndt, Director of FastCare Development.

The UH FastCare clinic will take walk-in patients without an appointment. The clinic will be open seven days a week with hours Monday through Friday of 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and Saturday/Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Giant Eagle Pharmacy will remain open after the clinic closes to provide a convenient option for customers who choose Giant Eagle to fulfill their prescription needs. The clinic charges between $46 and $66 for routine medical services. Payment may be made at the time of service or, depending on the patient’s insurance carrier, University Hospitals will bill a patient’s insurance.

Retail medical clinics located in pharmacies and other stores can provide care for routine illnesses at a lower cost and similar quality as offered in physician offices, urgent care centers or emergency departments, according to a recent RAND Corporation study.

The study, the first to assess the quality of care provided in retail medical clinics in the United States, compared the care provided in different settings for patients with middle ear infections, sore throats and urinary tract infections. Researchers found no difference in the quality offered to patients visiting retail clinics, physician offices and urgent care centers, but retail clinics did slightly better than hospital emergency departments. Further, the study found that the costs of treating acute illnesses at retail clinics were 30-to-40 percent lower than in physician offices or urgent care centers and 80 percent lower than in emergency departments.

About Giant Eagle

Giant Eagle Inc., ranked 40 on Forbes magazine’s largest private corporations list and recipient of Grocery Headquarters’ 2007 Retailer of the Year Award and the EPA’s ENERGY STAR® Retail Partner of the Year Award, is one of the nation’s largest food retailers and food distributors with approximately $8.2 billion in annual sales. Founded in 1931, Giant Eagle, Inc. has grown to be the number one supermarket retailer in the region with 164 corporate and 58 independently owned and operated supermarkets in addition to 155 fuel and convenience stores throughout western Pennsylvania, Ohio, north central West Virginia and Maryland.

About University Hospitals

University Hospitals serves the needs of patients through an integrated network of hospitals, outpatient centers and primary care physicians. At the core of our health system is University Hospitals Case Medical Center. The primary affiliate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, University Hospitals Case Medical Center is home to some of the most prestigious clinical and research centers of excellence in the nation and the world, including cancer, pediatrics, women's health, orthopedics and spine, radiology and radiation oncology, neurosurgery and neuroscience, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery, organ transplantation and human genetics. Its main campus includes the internationally celebrated UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, ranked second in the nation for the care of critically ill newborns; UH MacDonald Women's Hospital, Ohio's only hospital for women; and UH Ireland Cancer Center, part of the NCI-designated Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. For more information, go to www.uhhospitals.org.

About FastCare

Bellin Health System established the FastCare brand of retail health clinics in 2006. Bellin is an integrated health care delivery system in Green Bay WI that was founded in 1907. Bellin operates five FastCare clinics in Northeast Wisconsin and has partnered with 20 other health systems to establish another 30 FastCare operations in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin , Montana, and West Virginia. FastCare is the largest health system based retail clinic brand in the United States. All FastCare clinics are operated by local health systems and are integrated into the care of those health systems.

May 6, 2010