The School Employee Guidance Program: Meeting teachers where they are

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As one suburban school teacher put it: “The stress never ends.”

She was responding to a 2017 Aetna survey that proved she wasn’t alone. The findings showed school employees with a higher prevalence of depression, anxiety and turnover compared to other professions due to a variety of factors such as classroom behavioral issues, increased class sizes and the focus on standardized testing scores.

With more than 1 million public school employees as members, Aetna is addressing the unique needs of this group by launching The School Employee Guidance program, the latest in the company’s ongoing commitment to improve its members’ emotional, physical and mental health.

“A teacher’s workday doesn’t end when the last bell rings. With the School Employee Guidance Program, teachers can connect to support when and how they need us, so that when the first bell rings the next day, they have all the tools in their back pocket to do the job they were inspired to do,” said Brooke Wilson, head of Worklife Services, Aetna Resources for Living.

Many existing school programs have been created in response to a tragic event or crisis, but The School Employee Guidance Program is different because it uses a combination of proactive individual and onsite group training and counseling for student behavior-based conflicts. The program also includes workshops on relevant topics including:

  • Preventing burnout
  • Coping with anxiety
  • Managing challenging interactions
  • Handling stress
  • Addressing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and ADHD

Additionally, school employees enrolled in the program have access to a 24/7 help line for clinician support, confidential self-assessments, online webinars and videos on stress management and ADHD, and more.

The program is the result of a 2017 research study  that Aetna conducted. The survey included teachers, professional staff and administrators nationwide from a cross-section of large and small districts in high and low communities to determine the top challenges in their industry. The research findings concluded that:

  • 80 percent of survey participants said managing class behavior for ADD and ADHD caused significant stress

  • 24 percent of survey participants expressed the need for an on-staff counselor, social worker or therapist

  • The average class size has almost doubled from 15.1 to 27.1 students over time

To learn more about the program, visit the Aetna Public Sector website or contact your Aetna representative.

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Personalized and protected: Health and wellness for the globally mobile

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The cover artwork of the "Personalized and Protected: Health and wellness for the globally mobile" report.

From vital signs to MRI results, and from wearable fitness trackers, genome sequencing to family history and more, health care consumers and their records are awash with data.

Accessing, analyzing and using that data can be difficult when the information is spread across disparate databases. What’s more, consumers who have been faced with countless data breaches in recent years are wary of who should have access to that data.

“More data has been created in the past two years than in all previous years combined,” says Aetna International Chief Information Officer Alan Payne. “Humans can’t comprehend this level of data, and this has driven innovations like cognitive computing and artificial intelligence.”

What are the potential solutions to ensure that consumers’ health and wellness benefit from all this health data?

In a new study, Aetna International examines the impact big data could have on the delivery of quality health care and explores some of the large and small ways that impact is already being felt.

Read more information here.

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Listen, simplify, improve: Aetna One Advocate builds on member response

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Digital tools have proven to be valuable advancements in helping consumers manage and improve their health. Still, for some — when health is more complicated — nothing beats personal interaction with a trusted advisor who can listen, help simplify and inform health care decisions.

Earlier this year, combined clinical and service support through Aetna One® Advocate (A1A) was introduced to large, self-insured customers specifically to provide members with a single, trusted advisor when they needed one.

“We do not expect consumers to be experts in all facets of the health care system — from cost to policy to procedures — to effectively manage their health,” says Jason Clement, vice president of Aetna One Advocate. “Rather, we are combining our collective expertise behind the scenes to give consumers a simpler, seamless experience provided by innovations in both digital technologies as well as in one-on-one support.”

The A1A program is designed to ease members’ burdens of managing their health and their benefits. In addition to a robust collection of personalized and mobile tools, A1A members also have a dedicated advocate who reaches out to members about their health and whom members can reach directly as well. With a swivel of a chair, the advocate can access the expertise of a co-located, multidisciplinary team of nurses, pharmacists, dieticians, doctors, social workers, and network specialists. Together this team collects, reviews and connects information end to end to help members access care and get the most from their benefit plans.

“More than just answering questions, the team gets to know the members and considers many factors including personal preferences and goals, barriers, cost, site of care, and community resources,” Clement says. “Several members have told us they were surprised by the depth of support and delighted to have someone proactively looking out for their best interests.”

By building relationships with members, advocates help address customary issues such as improving medication adherence and coordinating member care plans, including disability. Many times, however, the advocates provide members with help they didn’t know they needed or had. For example, one member called to compare the cost of lab tests. The advocate noticed that the lab order indicated the tests as diagnostic rather than preventive wellness, which would be covered by the health plan. The advocate called the provider, who confirmed the order was not accurate and provided a new one, resulting in more than $150 in unexpected savings for the member. Another advocate helped a member qualify and enroll in a clinical trial that he believed was not possible.

Investing in what we don’t know to do better

To learn more about what concerns members, frustrates them, delights them and most importantly what’s missing, Aetna has enlisted the capabilities of Topbox, makers of cloud-based customer experience analytics software. Topbox technology will analyze and deliver a unified view of all member interactions, from contact center calls, emails chats, feedback on the website and surveys.

“The unstructured data contained in all these organic conversations represents a wealth of information on customers’ expectations, and how to better meet them. Topbox will help identify recurring service requests or concerns, and pinpoint their root causes, so that Aetna can address them and continue to improve the overall customer experience of the A1A program,” says Chris Tranquill, CEO of Topbox.

Improving the health care journey

Learning more directly from members about their health care journey across Aetna business areas and local health care communities will help Aetna improve and deliver new digital capabilities and one-on-one support. Transforming the health care system and experience for members requires transformation in member support. Investing in building ongoing relationship with members and customized solutions informed by analytics, access and expert knowledge is essential to make planning for and accessing health care easy and most effective for members.

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CarePass membership now available nationwide

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Woman and boy with CVS Pharmacy delivery.

In today’s busy world, we understand the importance of making it easy for customers to care for themselves and their families.

That’s why we’re now offering our CarePass program to all CVS Pharmacy customers nationwide.

The first loyalty and membership program that offers free national pharmacy delivery on eligible prescriptions, CarePass gives customers more ways to access the health-focused care and products they’re looking for when and where they need them for a $5 monthly membership or an annual fee of $48.

“We are thrilled to expand CarePass nationally, bringing simplified value to our customer while making it easier for them to care for themselves and their families,” says Kevin Hourican, Executive Vice President for CVS Health and President of CVS Pharmacy. “Initial customer response has exceeded our expectations with members utilizing the program's full benefits and becoming more engaged across all of our digital offerings.”

The program expansion follows a successful pilot launch in the greater Boston area in 2018.

What’s included in a CarePass membership

CarePass members receive a multitude of benefits, as well as a variety of surprise perks and bonus offers made available at key times throughout the year.

The program includes:

  • Free one- to two-day delivery on qualifying prescriptions and most cvs.com purchases, with no minimum purchase required.

  • Access to a 24/7 pharmacist helpline to speak with a pharmacist who has secure access to customers’ prescription history with CVS Pharmacy and can answer question about medications as well as suggest additional tools, resources or services.

  • A 20 percent discount on eligible CVS Health Brand products in-store and online at CVS.com, including over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements, as well as personal care items.

  • A monthly $10 CarePass promotional reward that can be used on many items in-store and online and is automatically added to the customer's ExtraCare card at the beginning of each monthly cycle.

Enhancing our CVS Pharmacy offerings

The expansion of our CarePass program is just the latest of several recent enhancements we have made to our CVS Pharmacy offerings to give customers access to more health-focused services and products.

Our new HealthHUB store format will continue to expand to more markets nationwide in 2020. HealthHUB is a first-of-its-kind community-based store concept focused on helping customers get well — and stay well — by offering a broader range of healthcare services, wellness products and services, trusted advice and personalized care, all with the ease of walking right into a local CVS Pharmacy.

In addition, with our recently launched “Tested to Be Trusted” program we became the first and only national retailer to require all vitamins and supplements to undergo third-party testing. This ensures that the ingredients on each label are accurate and that products are free from any concerning additives and ingredients.

Woman and boy with CVS Pharmacy delivery.
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Our Leaders: Meeting our Commitment to Better Health

Our Leaders: Meeting our Commitment to Better Health
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As a front door to health care in 10,000 communities nationwide, CVS Health is committed to creating the path to better health and a better world. In the first half of 2019, our leaders participated in public forums to discuss how that commitment is coming to fruition to build healthier communities and improve the consumer health experience:

Larry Merlo, President and Chief Executive Officer of CVS Health, addressed the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. in January to discuss the potential of improving health at the local level through targeted engagement and human interactions. During his address, Merlo announced the company’s new Building Healthier Communities initiative, a five-year, $100 million commitment to improve health at the local level. This initiative provides expanded access to free health screenings, more funding to tackle public health challenges, including tobacco and opioid use and additional investments to address social and environmental factors.

Tom Moriarty, Chief Policy and External Affairs Officer, and General Counsel of CVS Health, participated in a POLITICO Health Care Innovators event in January to discuss how CVS Health is helping patients with chronic conditions manage their care. In the case of diabetes, Moriarty highlighted how the CVS Health and Aetna combination is uniquely able to address avoidable costs by providing patients with access to the right care locally. According to Moriarty, “We will have the ability to determine who is at risk of developing diabetes and provide them preventative counseling and services.”

Karen Lynch, Executive Vice President of CVS Health and President of the Aetna Business Unit, authored an op-ed for U.S. News & World Report in March to discuss the importance of providing communities with the support and flexibility they need to create local solutions that have the power to affect real change and improve public health. Here she outlines the priorities of the second annual U.S. News & World Report Healthiest Communities rankings, underwritten by the Aetna Foundation. This initiative is part of our broader effort to improve community health outcomes – providing insights that inform residents, health care leaders and elected officials about policies and best practices.

For more information about CVS Health’s efforts to improve access to quality care across the nation, visit our Quality & Access information center and the CVS Health Impact Dashboard. To stay informed about the latest updates and innovations from CVS Health, register for content alerts and our bi-weekly health care newsletter.

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Helping Increase Access to Health and Wellness Benefit Solutions

Helping Increase Access to Health and Wellness Benefit Solutions
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Health care continues to evolve at a rapid pace and with that has come new technological advancements and care models. This includes tools and programs to help patients manage a wide range of conditions, from insomnia to weight loss to solutions that provide disease management and medication adherence support.

To help increase access to these tools and solutions, CVS Health has introduced Vendor Benefit Management, a first-of-its-kind service that allows CVS Caremark pharmacy benefit management (PBM) clients to more easily and efficiently onboard and manage third-party vendors and make their solutions available to members.

Our Streamlined Service

Increasingly, employers are supplementing their standard benefit offerings with novel digital and non-digital health and wellness solutions. In 2018, the average employer offered 14 supplementary health care solutions from different sources, including health plans and third-party vendors.https://www.castlighthealth.com/press-releases/castlight-releases-first-of-its-kind-report-on-digital-health-in-the-workplace/

However, the process to onboard and manage disparate vendors can be complex, resource intensive and time-consuming. Vendor Benefit Management aims to make this process easier for our PBM clients.

Specifically, the new service enables:

  • A more streamlined process to onboard and manage multiple vendors
  • An easy way to access negotiated pricing and standardized verification of member eligibility in real time
  • Simplified and streamlined billing and payment processing
  • Standardized measurement and reporting across all vendors

Big Health’s Sleep Solution

Poor-quality sleep and insomnia affect nearly 30 percent of adults and can underlie or impact a wide variety of mental health conditions. Big Health, a digital therapeutics company, is the first participating Vendor Benefit Management vendor and Sleepio, its personalized digital sleep improvement program, is now available to PBM clients via the service. The program is based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which helps individuals make the changes necessary to improve their sleep problems.

Moving forward, CVS Health will be actively working to identify and onboard additional vendors to participate in the new service. This may include solutions such as smoking cessation and substance abuse support, care management solutions, medication optimization and adherence, and tools that help members navigate their benefits.

For more information about CVS Health’s efforts to improve access to quality care across the nation, visit our Quality & Access information center and the CVS Health Impact Dashboard. To stay informed about the latest updates and innovations from CVS Health, register for content alerts and our bi-weekly health care newsletter.

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Health is the Real Win: Attain by Aetna, A New Step in Helping Consumers Transform Their Health, Now Available

Health is the Real Win: Attain by Aetna, A New Step in Helping Consumers Transform Their Health, Now Available
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This article was written by Alan Lotvin, M.D., Executive Vice President, Chief Transformation Officer for CVS Health.

Aetna medical members now have a new personalized way to encourage healthy actions every day and achieve better health. The Attain by AetnaSM app, the first-of-its-kind health experience designed in collaboration with Apple, is now available for download in the Apple App store.  

Attain  is unique because it’s built for people like you and me – not elite athletes, but people who could use a nudge every now and then to take simple actions each day to lead a healthier life. Health isn’t one size fits all, and Attain provides recommendations personalized for you.

The Attain program offers daily and weekly activity goals, and then rewards you when those goals are achieved. More than just steps taken, the app tracks other activities that improve overall health and are measured by the Apple Watch, such as getting more sleep, improving nutrition and being more mindful. In a little more than three months, almost 300 Attain users in our pilot burned more than 4.3 million calories! Additionally, the app uses your health history to create tailored notifications based on clinical guidelines that help you stay on top of key health moments such as refilling prescriptions, getting preventative vaccinations like the flu shot, scheduling annual primary care visits or finding lower-cost options for lab tests when needed.

Attain was built from the ground up to protect user privacy and data. Users consent to the use of their data in Attain with a very straightforward, plain-language consent process. Information collected and used in Attain will never be used for underwriting, premium or coverage decisions. Users who change their mind can stop participating and opt-out at any time.

Achieving your best health is important. CVS Health wants to make getting personal support in health care simpler, more affordable and convenient. With tailored app notifications combined with the technology of the Apple Watch, you can receive the support you need to more easily incorporate healthy actions into your everyday life. We are truly excited to be able to share Attain more broadly.  

Aetna medical members who would like to learn more can visit AttainbyAetna.com and download the app via the Apple App Store to confirm eligibility and rewards* that are available to you. 

Aetna is part of the CVS Health family of companies. 

For more information about CVS Health’s efforts to improve access to quality care across the nation, visit our Quality & Access information center and the CVS Health Impact Dashboard. To stay informed about the latest updates and innovations from CVS Health, register for content alerts and our bi-weekly health care newsletter.

*Not all members are eligible to earn an Apple Watch®. Download Attain and sign in to see which rewards are available to you.

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Enhancing our self-care offerings at CVS Pharmacy

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At CVS Health, fulfilling our purpose of helping people on their path to better health also means making it easier for our customers to make health- and wellness-driven choices in our CVS Pharmacy stores. 
In our commitment to being a trusted partner in proactive wellness solutions, we’re enhancing the self-care options in our CVS Pharmacy aisles, including new vitamin and supplement testing standards and a wider assortment of products in new categories.

Our “Tested to Be Trusted” program

We understand that transparency is key to helping customers make decisions about the vitamins and supplements they take. 

That’s why we’ve launched our “Tested to Be Trusted” program, which requires that all products with a supplement panel, including all national brands, sold in our stores and online would be required to undergo third-party testing to confirm the accuracy of ingredients on each label and to ensure products are free from any concerning additives and ingredients.

We are the first and only national retailer to now require all vitamins and supplements to undergo third-party testing. 

We’ve completed testing on all 1,400 vitamins and supplements from 152 brands across 11 categories, including diet and nutrition, pain and digestive, sold in our CVS Pharmacy stores and on cvs.com. During testing, 7 percent of products failed, resulting in either the update of label ingredient claims or the product being pulled from CVS Pharmacy shelves.

Going forward, any new vitamin and supplement products will undergo testing before being sold by CVS Pharmacy. 

As part of our “Tested to Be Trusted” program, all products with a supplemental panel must be certified by NSF International, verified by USP (The United States Pharmacopeia) or participate in CVS Pharmacy’s required third party testing program conducted through the NSF or Eurofins. 

The testing process includes:

  • Dietary ingredient review and testing: Verifies that the dietary ingredients listed on the supplement facts panel are in the product in the amount stated
  • Contaminant review: Verifies that there are no harmful levels of certain specified contaminants in the product. 

From bee pollen to yoga mats: Our expanded wellness selection

In addition to more transparency in our vitamin and supplement selection, we’re also working to make it easier for customers to incorporate self-care into their daily routine.

More than 300 new products will be introduced to more than 3,000 CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide by the end of 2019 as part of our “Treat Yourself Well” campaign. The new products cover a range of wellness categories, including cognitive, digestive, mood and sleep therapies, and will include collagen protein, essential oils and aromatherapy stress spray, bone broth protein, beet root powder, weighted blankets, yoga mats, free weights, bee pollen and honey immunity products. 

A history of bold, health-focused choices

Our self-care enhancements are just the latest of many bold decisions we’ve made with the health of our CVS Pharmacy customers in mind. Since the removal of tobacco from our stores in 2014, we’ve taken many major steps to help people on their path to better health within our retail business, including:

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SmileDirectClub at CVS Pharmacy

At CVS Health, we understand the importance of placing customers at the center of their care, with solutions that are not only innovative, but simpler, easier to access and more affordable.

Together with SmileDirectClub — which offers a more convenient alternative to traditional oral alignment options at a lower cost — we’ve recently expanded that care to include helping customers achieve a straighter smile. 

In 2019, hundreds of SmileShops will roll out in CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide, with the potential to expand to more than a thousand additional locations over the next two years.

The new SmileShops give customers a convenient option for accessing SmileDirectClub’s affordable and innovative remote teledentistry services.

Additionally, by early summer 2019, SmileDirectClub will be added as an in-network health care option for Aetna Dental members, providing greater benefits and an enhanced coverage experience for patients.   

In more than doubling the number of SmileShops nationwide and easing access to immediate savings for Aetna Dental participants, our collaboration supports SmileDirectClub’s mission to democratize access to a straighter smile through affordable and convenient direct-to-consumer platform.

Many people in the United States have been unable to get orthodontic care because of prohibitive cost as well as limited access to care, with 60 percent of U.S. counties having limited access to an orthodontist. SmileDirectClub brings care directly to the customer by connecting them to a digital network of state licensed orthodontists and dentists.

And SmileDirectClub’s aligner therapy costs, on average, 60 percent less than traditional solutions, which can cost between $5,000 and $9,000, and straightens teeth, on average, three times faster than traditional solutions.

Here’s how the SmileShops work:

  • Customers begin the process of achieving a straighter smile by getting a free 3D digital scan at a nearby SmileShop
  • A state-licensed and board-certified dentist or orthodontist approves the scan and creates the customer’s new smile
  • In 4 weeks, the customer receives their custom aligners from SmileDirectClub
  • Every 90 days, the customer will upload photos for their licensed dentist or orthodontist to review, eliminating the need for office visits

Customers will have access to an in-store SmileGuide who will get them started on their new smile journey, administer the 3D scan, and offer teeth whitening kits and information on invisible aligner therapy.

For a list of SmileShops at CVS Pharmacy locations and information about scheduling a visit, please visit the SmileDirectClub page on cvs.com.
 

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Health Care Innovators: New Players Meet Long-Established Regulations

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POLITICO Health Care Innovators: New Players Meet Long-Established Regulations, sponsored by CVS Health, explored how disruption and innovation are bringing new opportunities to improve health care. Tom Moriarty, CVS Health Chief Policy and External Affairs Officer and General Counsel, kicked off the event with a timely discussion about how the combination of CVS Health and Aetna is challenging the status quo in health care.  

Following opening remarks, an expert panel addressed how innovations are shifting the center of care, increasing patient engagement and improving health outcomes. The panel discussion was anchored in the belief that established health care companies are disrupting the industry from within. Among the experts, there was consensus that these companies have the expertise and reach to enhance how consumers experience health care.

Experts included:

  • Peter Basch, MD, MACP, Senior Director, IT Quality and Safety, Research, and National Health IT Policy, MedStar Health

  • Jay Desai, CEO & Co-Founder, PatientPing

  • Ann Hwang, MD, Director, Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation, Community Catalyst

  • Mona Siddiqui, MD, MPH, Chief Data Officer, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

View a video of the full POLITICO Health Care Innovators panel discussion.

A New Center of Care

Dr. Basch emphasized the importance of thinking beyond brick-and-mortar facilities, such as hospitals and the physicians’ office, so that we are able to meet patients where they are and when they need us. He encouraged health systems to not only consider themselves as physical sites of care, but distributed care networks supported by accessible solutions, such as home care, retail health clinics and technology. By doing so, our health care system will be better positioned to evaluate what is right for a patient and their particular condition.

Expanding access to local community-based care is a critical component of new and innovative distributed care networks. Saddiqui noted that 80 percent of the time, care that patients seek in a hospital setting could be administered at an alternative site. “In these instances, it is absolutely critical to have care in the community and in the home.” As an example, the panel referenced how retail health clinics, including MinuteClinic, can provide patients with meaningful touchpoints and complement primary care in between doctors’ visits.

Making Care Both High-Tech and High-Touch

Mobile health has evolved from specialized devices to now being integrated into common devices like smartphones. These technologies provide patients with the ability to monitor their health and share important information with their health care providers who can follow up by phone, virtually or in-person based on the information received and the patient’s circumstance. Joanne Kenen, POLITICO Executive Health Care Editor and panel moderator, referred to this trend as “marrying high-tech and high-touch.”  

To illustrate this concept, Kenen shared an example of an 85-year-old patient living with diabetes and asked how basic technology could make a difference in her health care. Desai explained that by inputting information in her smart phone, she can ensure that information is shared across the full care continuum – enabling her providers to create treatment plans tailored to her specific health and lifestyle needs. This type of integration between technology and a patient’s care team is key to the new model of care CVS Health is leading through its combination with Aetna.

Aligning Payment Models to Improve Patient Outcomes

Payment models that focus on improving long-term health rather than simply treating an illness are an important strategy in improving patients’ quality of care. Panelists agreed that payment models must address the social and economic factors of care, which oftentimes lead to chronic conditions. To achieve this, greater alignment across the health care system is needed.  “Currently, the health care system is going in two different directions,” said Hwang. “For example, on one side we’re focusing on coordinated care and specific patient outcomes, and on the other we’re still rewarding volume over outcomes.”

At CVS Health, we believe that a focus on outcomes improves health and contains costs by connecting patients to the right care at the right time. We implement value-based management programs to target the most costly and complex disease states to help improve individuals’ health outcomes.

For more information about CVS Health’s efforts to improve access to quality care across the nation, visit our Quality & Access information center and the CVS Health Impact Dashboard. To stay informed about the latest updates and innovations from CVS Health, register for content alerts and our bi-weekly health care newsletter.

The panel of experts at the POLITICO event
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