Kroger Health announced recently a new service aimed at helping tobacco users in Idaho and Indiana to successfully quit for good. As of Feb. 3, pharmacists across Idaho and Indiana in Kroger, Fred Meyer and Smith’s locations will prescribe and supply tobacco cessation products to be used in combination with lifestyle resources and behavioral support.

More tobacco users are attempting to quit or expressing a desire to quit today than in recent history. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 68% of adult smokers want to quit smoking and 55.4% of daily cigarette smokers reported stopping for more than one day in an attempt to permanently quit smoking. This service combines both behavioral counseling and medications, which according to the CDC is more effective in stopping tobacco use than using either one alone.

As a result of recent legislation changes in Idaho and Indiana, Kroger Health’s pharmacists can prescribe all tobacco cessation medications for patients including Zyban and Chantix in addition to a patient-specific quit plan. After a consultation with a pharmacist, patients will receive a prescription, if appropriate, as well as tobacco cessation therapy and behavioral counseling. This service, provided by a Kroger Health pharmacist, includes a follow-up on a patient’s progress after the initial meeting. Many of the smoking cessation medications are available at a discounted rate through Kroger Rx Savings Club, which is a membership prescription program through Kroger Family of Pharmacies.

“Smoking and tobacco are leading causes of preventable disease in the United States,” Colleen Lindholz, president, Kroger Health, said in a news release. “Many customers want to quit but don’t know where to start. Others have tried to quit but were unsuccessful. We want people to know they can come to our pharmacy and get assistance with what can often be a trying process.”

Pharmacists at 114 Indiana and 15 Idaho Kroger Health pharmacies will be joining providers at The Little Clinic with the ability to provide this service.

Those interested in quitting tobacco products should contact their local Kroger Health pharmacy in Indiana or Idaho for more information and eligibility. Certain restrictions apply.

Parkview Health joins approach in diabetes care

A partnership with the American Medical Group Association (AMGA), paired with a clinically integrated approach, is changing the way Parkview Health delivers diabetes care.

Parkview has used data and implemented best practices identified by AMGA to improve the quality of diabetes care delivered to patients. As part of AMGA’s Together 2 Goal campaign, Parkview has joined providers across the country to share data on a variety of measures, including blood sugar control, blood pressure control, lipid management and testing for kidney disease. The information allows providers to compare practices and outcomes among similar patient populations.

“Partnering with AMGA and their Together 2 Goal campaign has revealed much to us about how we care for those with diabetes,” Greg Johnson, DO, chief clinical integration officer, Parkview Health, said in a news release. “They packaged the data in a way that was easily understood and actionable, and it allowed us to see how we compare to our peers across the country.”

To date, more than 150 medical groups and health systems have joined the campaign, resulting in more people with safer ranges for critical diabetes measures, like blood sugar and blood pressure. In January, AMGA announced its campaign had exceeded its goal of improving diabetes for 1 million patients nationwide.

In addition to using data and best practices from AMGA, Parkview has implemented a clinically integrated approach to diabetes management, facilitating care across medical conditions, providers, locations and time. Dedicated care coordinators work with patients to tailor a personalized healthcare plan that meets their individual goals and walk alongside them throughout the journey, connecting them to nurses, social workers, pharmacists and other experts to get the resources they need.

Chad Shirar, director of Diabetes Care Strategy, Parkview Health, emphasized the importance of combating one of the nation’s most pressing chronic conditions.

“Diabetes is difficult to manage, for both patients and clinicians,” Shirar said. “AMGA’s data and platform has shown us how to best serve our community. We look forward to continued collaboration, particularly with the Together 2 Goal campaign, to sustain and improve the diabetes care our community deserves.”

Though Together 2 Goal has exceeded its original goal, the initiative will continue to run through March 2021. Parkview and other participants will use this additional time to refine and hard wire care process improvements.

New grief support groups

Two new grief support groups, one supporting women who have lost spouses or significant others and the other supporting those who have lost a loved one to suicide completion, will begin Feb. 17 at the Peggy F. Murphy Community Grief Center, 5920 Homestead Road, Fort Wayne, on the Visiting Nurse campus.

The new Women’s Evening Grief Support Group meets the third Monday evening of each month from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

The Women’s Afternoon Grief Support Group continues to meet the second and fourth Wednesday of each month from 2 to 3:30 p.m.

Finding Hope, a new grief support group for those who have lost a loved one to suicide completion, also begins Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. and will be facilitated by Mel and Mike Shade. It will then meet every fourth Monday of the month at the grief center, and joins the grief support group We the Living, also for those who have lost loved ones to suicide completion, which meets the second Wednesday of each month from 7 to 9 p.m. at the grief center.

Call 260-435-3261 or visit for more information or for a full list of grief support groups available to the public. All services provided by the Peggy F. Murphy Community Grief Center are free and open to the public. Hospice involvement is not required.

Cindy Larson is a longtime Fort Wayne journalist and is a Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly reporter. To submit items, send email to or call 260-426-2640, Ext. 3369.

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