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Chief medical officer Dr. Daniel Fick draws acclaim

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Laying the groundwork for Hy-Vee’s future medical initiatives

Chief medical officer Dr. Daniel Fick draws acclaim

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — As the first chief medical officer in Hy-Vee’s more than 90-year history, Dr. Daniel Fick is laying the groundwork for Hy-Vee’s future medical initiatives.

An Iowa native, Fick first joined Hy-Vee at the age of 16 as a part-time employee. He went on to earn his medical degree and has spent more than 30 years as a practicing physician and also serving as a clinical professor of family medicine at the University of Iowa. In 2021, Fick took on an additional role as Hy-Vee’s senior vice president and chief medical officer.

As Hy-Vee has advanced further into health care initiatives, Fick has been an integral leader and advisor when it comes to shaping the company’s strategy, which is why he is being recognized as one of MMR’s Health Executives of the Year.

Building the foundation

As chief medical officer, Fick helps guide Hy-Vee’s health and wellness initiatives, as well as identify new opportunities to serve patients.

“At Hy-Vee, our mission is to make things easier, healthier and happier for our customers,” says Fick. “You think through that and it’s like, ‘How does that apply to health care?’ ”

On the medical side, Fick has helped develop the company’s standards for care and service with a focus around three key areas: available, affable and able.

According to Fick, “available” refers to the ease in which a patient can be seen by a medical provider for treatment. Easy access to care, affordability and convenience all play a role in this mission.

“Affable” aligns with Hy-Vee’s long-held commitment to superior service, and in the medical field, refers to factors like bedside manner, comfort and the friendliness of Hy-Vee’s medical staff.

Fick believes that “able” refers to the quality and personalization of care patients receive during their visit. The Hy-Vee team has worked to develop a high-touch patient model to ensure patients receive the support they need in every step of their health journey.

Fick has worked to apply these fundamentals to Hy-Vee’s newly formed medical operations, including its newest Hy-Vee Health infusion clinics that opened in 2023.

Specializing in infusion care

In 2023, Fick was tapped to oversee the company’s first Hy-Vee Health ambulatory infusion clinics. Two clinics have opened to date in Chicago and West Des Moines, Iowa, with more planned across the nation. Each clinic is managed by physicians and is referral-based, offering treatments for rheumatology, gastroenterology, pulmonary, neurology, dermatology, oncology and other chronic conditions.

The independent clinics are staffed by physicians and nurse practitioners and feature a combination of private, semi-private and group infusion suites, along with additional amenities to ensure the highest level of comfort for patients.

Fick says that Hy-Vee Health was created with value in mind. The infusion clinics are designed to be a more affordable option for patients, payers and health care plans than traditional hospital infusion centers and bypass hospital facility fees, which can add substantial costs to infusion treatments. Another added benefit of these locations is their convenience. Each clinic is open six days a week with flexible hours, and they are located in easy-to-access areas within their communities. With less than a year in operation, the clinics have already seen a significant number of referrals, and they continue to grow.

Creating a whole-health model

Hy-Vee’s focus is centered on providing a whole-health approach to patients, providers and employers. Over the past several years, the retailer has made a series of strategic moves to establish a portfolio of brands and services that support this mission.

Fick says part of his job involves integrating health care opportunities within the retailer’s established grocery business.

“We are always looking for opportunities to expand beyond pharmacy and specialty pharmacy,” Fick says.

Hy-Vee currently operates more than 275 retail pharmacies across the Midwest, as well as the national Amber Specialty Pharmacy brand, which provides individualized care to patients who have chronic and complex conditions. Hy-Vee also employs its own team of registered dietitians who provide nutritional counseling in person and online.

The synergy between Hy-Vee’s pharmacies and registered dietitians is one of the company’s greatest strengths, says Fick. That’s why Hy-Vee’s next focus is aimed at growing Food as Medicine, a concept that Fick and Hy-Vee’s leaders expect to significantly improve patient health outcomes.

“Through Food as Medicine, we will be able to work with employers, providers and patients to show that one of the biggest determinants to their health and health care spend is diet and how people eat,” Fick says.

Another area that Fick has helped champion is RedBox Rx, Hy-Vee’s national telehealth and online pharmacy brand that discreetly ships personalized treatments directly to patients’ doors. RedBox Rx’s low-cost telehealth model removes barriers to care with no insurance or membership required.

Hy-Vee has invested in a number of other health and wellness services over the years, including mobile health units, a pass-through pharmacy benefit manager (Vivid Clear Rx), a healthy lifestyle e-commerce site (WholeLotta Good), as well as Hy-Vee KidsFit, a free educational program that promotes physical activity and healthy habits to school-age children and classrooms.

Looking ahead, Fick says the company will remain focused on providing value-based care to all of its stakeholders, including patients, payers and employers.


ECRM_06-01-22


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