Rusty Kennedy  /  AP file
Rite Aid's plan follows a trend among drug store chains nationally to offer more health care services within stores as a way to boost revenue.
updated 7/6/2005 6:50:39 PM ET 2005-07-06T22:50:39

In a bid to ramp up its health care offerings, Rite Aid Corp. said Wednesday that it will open health care centers in 10 of its retail drug stores to be staffed by certified nurse practitioners who will treat minor ailments, perform vaccinations and screen for diseases.

The Camp Hill, Pa.-based retailer said it signed an agreement with Take Care Health Systems LLC to open clinics within Rite Aid stores in the Portland, Ore., area on Nov. 1.

If the test market is successful, Rite Aid plans to roll out the concept nationally, said company spokeswoman Jody Cook.

“The real orientation of this is access and convenience for basic health conditions,” said Dr. Regina Baime, chief medical officer of Conshohocken, Pa.-based Take Care.

Rite Aid’s latest strategy expands an existing service in which its pharmacists provide consultation to customers for a fee. The move also reflects a trend among drug store chains nationally to offer more health care services within stores as a way to boost revenue.

Last month, CVS Corp. and MinuteClinic Inc. teamed up to open three health care centers in Minneapolis and Annapolis, Md., staffed by certified family nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

Pharmacists of Raleigh, N.C.-based Kerr Drug Inc. offer counseling to customers and the retailer has installed consultation rooms in 10 stores. Walgreen Co., the nation’s largest drug store chain, is offering health care services including diabetes screening, medication management and AIDS counseling at some stores in Texas, California, Nevada and Illinois.

“It’s an effort by Rite Aid to solidify itself as a convenient and significant health care provider. The company is working to build volume in pharmacy,” said Eric Bosshard, director of research for FTN Midwest Research in Cleveland. “This could be a traffic driver to the stores.”

The 200- to 260-square-foot centers will be staffed by one or two certified nurse practitioners, who are nurses with graduate training and the ability to diagnosis patients and in some states, write prescriptions.

Centers will be open seven days a week, during store hours. The centers will accept health insurance and Medicare.

The health centers are planned for Rite Aid stores in Portland and surrounding areas of Beaverton, Clackamas, Lake Oswego, Oregon City, Wilsonville, Hillsboro, Milwaukee and Tigard.

Shares of Rite Aid fell 3 cents to close at $4.12 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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