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CVS to buy Aetna: What it means to you

Published: Monday, December 04, 2017 @ 8:20 AM

CVS Announces Plan To Purchase Aetna Insurance

CVS confirmed that it’s buying Aetna for $69 billion in a deal that will help the drugstore chain reach deeper into customer health care and protect a key client.

CVS Health Corp. released a statement Sunday saying it will pay cash and stock for Aetna Inc.

Here’s what it could mean for the average consumer:

1. LOCATIONS: The mammoth acquisition pairs a company that runs more than 9,700 drugstores and 1,100 walk-in clinics with the third-largest insurer that covers about 22 million people. There are more than 50 CVS locations in this region.

2. CLINICS: The evolution won’t happen overnight, but in time, shoppers may find more clinics in CVS stores and more services they can receive through the network of nearly 10,000 locations that the company has built.

“They’ll be pretty much a soup-to-nuts health company … except for the hospital part of it,” Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a retail consulting and research firm, told the Associated Press.

3. MANAGING CARE: Patients also may find the CVS-Aetna combination much more involved in managing their care, especially for those with expensive chronic conditions like diabetes. The bulked-up company also may gain more negotiating leverage over prescription drug prices, but it’s far too early to say how much or whether that benefit will trickle down to customers.

The $69 billion deal announced Sunday evening will push the drugstore chain more forcefully in a direction it has been heading for years, according to Wall Street analysts. The company, which stopped selling tobacco products in 2014 to further burnish its image as a care provider, already runs about 1,100 clinics and has been steadily expanding the health care it offers.

The clinics started off as a place to treat basic health care needs like sinus infections or strep throat. Gradually, CVS added services like blood draws or monitoring of chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Expect that trend to continue as the drugstore switches more from selling products in its stores to services that can’t be bought online, where retailers face formidable competition from the likes of Amazon.

4. PHARMACY BENEFITS: CVS Health Corp. is also one of the nation’s biggest pharmacy benefit managers, processing more than a billion prescriptions a year for clients like large employers and insurers including Aetna Inc.

Analysts say the combined company could add more clinics and expand in-store services to include eye care or maybe centers for hearing aids. That could gradually turn CVS into a one-stop-shop for health care, a place where patients can get a hearing aid checked, then see a nurse practitioner and pick up prescriptions.

Clinics aren’t especially profitable, but they are important because they draw people into the stores and help build deeper customer relationships, analysts say.

The clinics have become an attractive option for customers in need of basic health care because they are usually open longer than the family doctor’s office. A clinic visit also can be cheaper than a $100 doctor visit for someone who doesn’t have insurance, but they have drawbacks. Family doctors say they know their patients better and can check on their overall health during a visit rather than dealing with just the one issue that brought that person in.

5. COMPETITION: CVS isn’t the only health care giant delving into clinical care. The deal will help it compete with others like UnitedHealth Group Inc. The nation’s largest health insurer also runs clinics and doctor’s offices. Like CVS, it also has one of the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit management businesses.

6. BEYOND CLINICS: CVS and Aetna also want to go beyond just clinic visits to help patients and customers.

Aetna Chairman and CEO Mark Bertolini has talked frequently about how most of a person’s life expectancy is determined by genetics and location and not by clinical care, which is where health care spending is focused.

“Our conventional operating model is not effective,” Bertolini said earlier this year. “People are angry at this model. It doesn’t work effectively in controlling costs.”

He has talked about the need to get into patients’ homes to gauge what they need, like whether they have enough food or may need transportation.

CVS can help through its home infusion business, which sends nurses to patients’ homes to deliver complex drugs for people with hemophilia among other conditions. The clinic and drugstore locations could also give patients with chronic conditions like diabetes more convenient options to get their blood monitored or counseling on their condition.

Over time, health care experts say that can help keep these conditions from growing worse and stave off expensive hospital stays.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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Toddler toys, decorative pillows, and water bottles among the latest product recalls 

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 2:41 PM

Toddler toys, decorative pillows, and water bottles among the latest product recalls

Children’s xylophones, water bottles sold at Costco, and 21 styles of decorative pillows are among the latest recalls announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. 

The Petit Collage musical jumbo wooden xylophones made by Wild & Wolf are under recall because the ball on the end of the stick can detach and pose a choking hazard. 

There is one report of the ball separating and another report of a loose ball, but no injuries.

They were sold at Barnes & Noble, Urban Outfitters and other retailers.

Don’t let your child use the toy and contact Wild & Wolf at 855-215-5879 to receive a free replacement beater stick. 

Reduce Hydro Pro Water bottles are being recalled over lead paint. 

They were sold in two packs with a dog and lamb design printed on the outside.

No one has been hurt, but the pink paint on the outside of the bear bottles contain levels of toxic lead that exceed federal standards.

Don’t use the recalled bottles and contact Base Brands at 833-600-2887 or return them to place of purchase for a full refund or replacement bottle. 

Decorative pillows by Primark are being recalled because they may catch on fire. 

No one has been hurt, but don’t use the cushions which come in 21 shapes, sizes and colors, click here for full product codes and descriptions. 

Contact Primark at 855-215-5829 or return the pillows to the store for a full refund. 

One million Square D safety switches are under recall because the could shock or electrocute users, although no injuries have been reported.

The power may stay on when in the “OFF” position on several catalog numbers of the general duty switches made by Schneider Electric. 

Contact Schneider Electric at 877-672-1953 or click here to find out how to inspect the switch, receive free service support, and a replacement switch. 

Pressure washer surface cleaners by Briggs and Stratton are being recalled because  the spray bar can fly off and cause an injury. 

One person reported needing sutures on a cut to the knee after being struck by the bar.    There are four other reports of the bars detaching from the central hub. 

3000 PSI Briggs and Stratton and Crafsman branded surface cleaners are involved in the recall.

Stop using the cleaners and Contact Briggs and Stratton at 877-370-7505 to receive a free replacement. 

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Jo-Ann Stores are recalling string light sets which can break and cut you.

Two people have  been cut by the decorative glass jars in the Jo-Ann’s Makers Holiday 10-count LED string lights. 

Don’t use the lights and contact Jo-Ann stores at 888-739-4120 for a full refund. 

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Polaris is recalling Ranger XP recreational off-highway vehicles and Phoenix 200 all-terrain vehicles due to injury and crash concerns.

Multiple model numbers of the 2016 and 2017 Ranger XP ROVs have seat belt brackets that can separate from the frame. No injuries have been reported.

All model year 2014 through 2017 Phoenix ATVs are being recalled because of nine reports of a damaged throttle limiter, with one minor injury.

Stop using the ROVs and ATVs and contact Polaris at 800-765-2747 for a free repair.

For more on these and other recalls visit CPSC.gov.

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Can I still use my gift card at Elder-Beerman? 5 questions answered for customers

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 9:06 AM

Can I still use my gift card at Elder-Beerman?

Elder-Beerman’s parent company announced the going-out-of-business sale begins today for its 212 stores and e-commerce website.

Bon-Ton Stores Inc. is closing all stores after only liquidators submitted bids for the retailer at a bankruptcy auction earlier this week. Bon-Ton’s liquidation sales are expected to run for about 10 to 12 weeks. Bon-Ton currently has 250 stores, 38 of which are already in liquidation from a previously announced store closure process.

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» The rise and fall of Elder-Beerman: A timeline of Dayton’s dying store

Elder-Beerman has stores in Piqua, Huber Heights, the Mall at Fairfield Commons in Beavercreek, the Kettering Towne Center, among others in Ohio. The stores employ hundreds of workers in the region.

Here’s what you need to know about the future of Elder-Beerman:

1. Can I still use gift cards or gift certificates?

Gift cards and gift certificates will continue to be honored for a period of 10 days following the first day of store closing sales, inclusive of the sale commencement date. Following this 10-day period, only cash and nationally recognized bank credit cards will be accepted during store closing sales.

FILE(Staff Writer)

2. Will customers be able to use their Bon-Ton coupons in the closing stores? Will closing stores still be accepting coupons during the closing sales?

No. As of today, coupons will no longer be valid once store closing sales begin.

3. Can I redeem my gift card, coupon or merchandise credits for cash?

No. Gift cards, coupons and merchandise credits cannot be returned for cash.

4. Can I still use my store Private Label Credit Card?

As of Thursday, April 19, 2018, Private Label Credit Cards are no longer accepted.

5. Will there be any changes to return policies?

We are continuing to accept returns in-store and online under our normal policies for the 10 days following the start of store closing sales, inclusive or the sale commencement date of Friday, April 20. Following this 10-day period, all online and in-store sales will be final, and merchandise sold prior and during the store closing period will be considered final sale. If a purchase was made on a Bon-Ton credit card prior to April 19, 2018, a credit can be processed on the card within 10 days.

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The Dayton Mall was busy on Tuesday afternoon. Shoppers have flooded area stores and malls returning unwanted gifts they received this holiday season. Most stores have made it an easy task, but others have made it difficult for a reason. According to the National Retail Federation’s latest Return Fraud Survey, retailers estimate that 3.5 percent of their holiday returns this year will be fraudulent, up slightly from the estimated 3 percent reported last year. Holiday return fraud is expected to cost retailers $2.2 billion, up from approximately $1.9 billion last year.. TY GREENLEES / STAFF(Staff Writer)
The Elder-Beerman store in Trotwood photographed in 1981. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE
The downtown Elder-Beerman store, photographed in 2002, closed and the building has been occupied by a variety of other companies. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE(Jan Underwood)

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Local company to demonstrate “artistry” of grinding

Published: Tuesday, April 17, 2018 @ 2:11 PM

United Grinding celebrates grand opening of new North American Headquarters in Miamisburg

At home in its new $13 million headquarters for six months, United Grinding is ready to show the building to the rest of the world.

Almost literally. The company will open the doors to its 2100 United Grinding Blvd. (off Old Byers Road) home to about 300 people from America, Europe and elsewhere over the next two days for its “The Artistry of the Grinding Universe” event, showcasing the latest in precision metal-shaping machines and techniques.

Owned by German company Korber Solutions, United expects to draw representatives from fellow Korber-owned brands as well as customers.

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The 110,00-square-foot building appears to be made for showcasing, with a good chunk of it set aside as a permanent showroom. Here, visitors can see Walter, Studer, EWAG and Blohm machines and learn the latest ways to strengthen quality and speed production.

United Grinding has about 140 Miamisburg employees. (About 30 employees are based elsewhere.) The company moved from Earl Boulevard — and consolidated a sister location in Virginia — to the current site just west of southbound Interstate 75.

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The move involved incentives exceeding $18 million, including a Montgomery County ED/GE (Economic Development/Government Equity) grant.

Here, customers in aerospace, automotive, medical, tool and die and other industries are served.

“We wanted to have all of our employees as much as possible under one roof,” said Steve Jacobson, United Grinding president and chief executive.

“This area of the Midwest is our hub zone, if you will,” he added. “The majority of our business — about 60 to 70 percent of our business — is located within about six hours’ drive of our location.”

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And why is metal shaping considered an “artistry?”

Because parts need to be perfect, and they need to be made perfectly more than once. Customers bring parts to United Grinding for a proof of concept, and those typically are the most challenging parts they produce, the CEO said.

At United Grinding, customers see whether they can make the parts faster, less expensively or with greater quality.

Walk around the building, and you’ll see several appearances of the German acronym “Puls” — which stands for “passion and precision,” said Jacob Baldwin, a United Grinding spokesman.

“It’s a combination of not only engineering, but art that goes into the design and development of a part,” Jacobson said. “Of course, if that happens with a part, you need a process that mimics the same way.”

As a European company, United Grinding has a strong corporate identity, Jacobson said. “There’s an art theme there, when you look around and see how we designed the building. Not only for functionality, but it looks like a nice building,” he said.

Anyone familiar with a Korber building in another part of the world — say, in Bern, Switzerland — will recognize common features in the Miamisburg building, Baldwin said.

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ALDI just announced a new grocery store is coming to Butler County. Find out where

Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 9:00 AM

No frills grocer ALDI reopened April 16, 2018, in West Chester Twp. after a 5-week remodeling effort.

No-frills grocery discount chain ALDI has submitted plans to build a new location in Fairfield.

Officials with the grocery chain have received approvals from the city’s Design and Review Committee and Planning Commission to build a new 22,000-square-foot store on a 2.25-acre lot at the corner of Pleasant Avenue and Patterson Boulevard.

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That’s inside the Patterson Place shopping center that once housed a Marsh grocery store that was razed several years ago.

“It’s a good-looking building,” said Fairfield Development Services Director Greg Kathman. “It’s their new prototype.”

No-frills grocery discount chain ALDI has submitted plans to build a new location in Fairfield.(STAFF PHOTO)

Kathman said staff is conducting a review of the submitted technical plans — the engineering and architectural drawings — “but they then have to come to terms and close on the real estate on the property.”

He said the company wanted to get the zoning and city approvals completed before they closed on the property, which he said, “We expect that to happen relatively soon.”

The new ALDI should open by sometime in the fourth quarter, Kathman said.

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The new ALDI should have a ripple effect on vacant space in the shopping plaza in which it is being constructed. Kathman said company officials told him they’ve seen other business follow the opening of a new ALDI store.

ALDI is investing $14 million to model 11 stores in Cincinnati and the surrounding area by 2019, part of its $1.6 billion plan to remodel more than 1,300 U.S. stores by 2020. Its West Chester location reopened Monday following remodeling efforts and a Hamilton location shut down for remodeling on Sunday. a Middletown location will be remodeled in September.

ALDI previously announced plans to invest $3 billion for the addition of 650 new Aldi locations in the United States during the next five years, bringing its total number of stores to 2,000 by the end of 2019.

The grocer, which has been part of the Cincinnati community for more than 20 years, is “always looking for opportunities” to bring the ALDI difference” to more of its fans, including the Fairfield community,” according to Sarah Brown, ALDI Springfield division vice president

“Our upcoming Fairfield store will deliver a modern and convenient shopping experience with a focus on fresh items, including robust produce, dairy and bakery sections, and more room for customers’ favorite products with approximately 22,150 square feet of selling space,” Brown said. “The store’s modern design will also feature open ceilings, natural lighting and environmentally-friendly building materials – such as recycled materials, energy-saving refrigeration and LED lighting.”

The company did not answer questions regarding how much it would cost to build the new store and how many employees it planned to hire.

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