Friday, January 26, 2007

Happy Friday! Don't forget to watch Political Connections tonight at 6:00 and again on Sunday morning at 11:00. This week we take on water supply issues related to growth across the state. Our guests are Dr. David Moreau from the Environmental Management Commission and State Senator Ellie Kinnaird (D-Orange County).

It's a quiet day in state government. Lawmakers are back in their districts until late Monday afternoon.

The State Health Deparment did announce a major deal with GlaxoSmithKline today. The drug company basically agreed to give doctors and local health departments first dibs on the flu shot next fall. A lot of people don't realize that distributers give flu vaccine to the Walmarts' and CVS' of the world. It happens that way because it's a huge order and guarantees a big sale quickly. By the time doctors are able to buy the vaccine it's often the middle of November or December. GSK has agreed to give two million doses in October. Here's the full release from the state.

"North Carolina physicians will receive flu vaccine early nextseason, thanks to a groundbreaking agreement announced today. The contract, between the North Carolina Community Care Networks, Inc (NCCCN) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is designed to address the problem ofdelays that the state's doctors and local health departments have experienced during past flu seasons.Under this first of its kind agreement, GSK agrees to ship up to twomillion doses of flu vaccine to North Carolina doctors and local healthdepartments. Doctors and local health departments will have theopportunity to order vaccine through the contract for the 2007/2008 fluseason. "As a physician, I've been troubled by the delays in private providersand local health departments receiving flu vaccine," said Dr. AllenDobson, DHHS Assistant Secretary for Health Policy and MedicalAssistance. "After last fall's delay, North Carolina medical community leaders got together to figure out how we could address what seemed tobe a recurring problem. GlaxoSmithKline has risen to this occasion, ensuring that our doctors will receive vaccine early in the season whenit will make the most difference." "We're delighted to work with North Carolina Community Care Networks onthis innovative program," said Chris Viehbacher, President, US Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline. "Each year, the flu causes some 36,000 deaths in the US, so it's critical that anyone who wants a flu shotshould be able should be able to get one easily." "Since our member practices will receive priority distribution of vaccines at the same time as commercial entities, patients can bevaccinated in their medical home as part of a physician's coordinatedcare plan," said Dr. Steven E. Wegner, President of North CarolinaCommunity Care Networks Inc. The agreement also improves the vaccine distribution system by allowing direct communication with themanufacturer about supply, ensuring that physicians can provide vaccines for all of their patients. State Health Director Dr. Leah Devlin applauded the development. "Right now, we know that there are health departments with unused vaccine forthe current flu season because it arrived too late," she said. If local health departments choose to participate in this contract, then they should be able to begin vaccination clinics early in next year's season. The North Carolina Medical Society agreed. "The North Carolina MedicalSociety is pleased that Glaxo has partnered with North CarolinaCommunity Care Networks to provide flu vaccine in a timely manner tophysicians in their offices and to the local health departments," said Dr. Darlyne Menscer, who is president of the Medical Society. Physicians can be trusted to immunize our most vulnerable patients; those with asthma, diabetes, heart disease,the elderly, pregnant women and children." NCCCN is the administrative organization coordinating the development of a demonstration project to improve care for the North Carolina Medicarepopulation. It builds on the success of the 14 Community Care of NorthCarolina networks that manage quality and cost-effective care for Medicaid enrollees through evidence-based practice guidelines, and targeted care and disease management programs. NCCCN has approximately 5,000 participating physicians in 1,250 practices across the state.Physicians interested in participating in the program may contact NCCCNat, 1-800-757-6587, or 3500 Gateway Boulevard, Suite110, Morrisville, NC 27560.

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