Health care, from the heart

Health care, from the heart
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Our health care system is under unprecedented strain.

Through it all, CVS Health has been there.

We’re nearly 300,000 employees ensuring millions of Americans can access health care services.

We’ve opened 4,700 COVID-19 test sites since March and administered over 10 million tests at our stores and through partners in underserved communities.

With millions staying home, CVS Health is increasing access to prescription delivery, virtual visits and mental health services.

Now, we’re providing vaccines in long-term care facilities nationwide.

We’ve been on the frontlines, making health care easier to access and afford.

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Heart At Work: Bob Atighechi brings hope to nursing homes

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It’s mid-morning, December 18, and a crowd of national press – CNN, NBC, Associated Press, to name a few – are gathered outside the Reservoir Skilled Nursing facility in West Hartford, Connecticut. Governor Ned Lamont, the last of the dignitaries to speak, steps to the podium.
   
Bob Atighechi is there too. Bob is one of a team of CVS pharmacists who will provide among the first COVID-19 vaccinations in the country for residents and staff in long-term care facilities. It’s a new wave of hope for the nation, one that’s been missing since the pandemic began. 

“We’ve been waiting for this day. It’s history,” says Bob. “I’m so lucky to be part of it.” 

The speeches have concluded and Reservoir staff are lined up outside for their first Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination. Their second shot will be administered in three weeks. 

Inside, where it’s sheltered and warm, Jeanne Peters, 95, is the first resident to be inoculated, with Bob’s assistance. “It was no problem,” says Jeanne, brushing off confetti that commemorated the event. “I think everyone who can, should get a shot against the virus – no matter what age.” 

Pharmacists Bob Atighechi and MaryLou Galushko providing a COVID-19 vaccination to Reservoir resident Jeanne Peters December 18, 2020
Pharmacists Bob Atighechi and MaryLou Galushko provide a COVID-19 vaccination to Reservoir resident Jeanne Peters December 18, 2020

Fast forward a few weeks later. Despite the holidays Bob has worked nearly every day, generally starting around 8:00 a.m. and returning home at 7:30 p.m. “We provide about 130 vaccinations daily in nursing homes throughout central Connecticut. They’re relieved and appreciative,” he explains. 

“I have to admit that the idea of receiving a new vaccination was a little bit unnerving despite the amount of education,” explains Amy Peruti, Director of Nursing at Hughes Health & Rehabilitation in West Hartford. “Bob’s confidence and friendliness were a calming force and truly set the stage for a great clinic day.”

Pharmacists Bob Atighechi and MaryLou Galushko applauding Reservoir resident Margaret Dubois who is receiving a COVID-19 vaccination
Pharmacists Bob Atighechi and MaryLou Galushko applaud Reservoir resident Margaret Dubois who received a COVID-19 vaccination December 18, 2020

In the weeks ahead, CVS Health expects to vaccinate up to four million residents and staff at over 40,000 long-term care facilities across the country.
 
But Bob, who has been with the company 14 years, worries. He knows firsthand the exacting toll Coronavirus has already taken on this vulnerable population. In one facility it was whispered that 60 of the 200 residents died from the disease – grandmothers, grandfathers, sisters, brothers – people who were loved. Less talked about, he says, is the fear and stress that have forced staff to retire early – leaving resident care in some locations to just a handful. 

But, what nags him most is the hesitancy. “Only 60 or 70% of the population we see are taking advantage of vaccinations. We need to reach everyone to be effective.” 

He hopes confidence will grow, making way for CVS Health to be able to quickly provide vaccinations to the general population. Among them, his elderly parents in California and eventually his teenagers.

When that day comes, Bob will be there, working to ensure people are safe. “I never dreamed I’d be part of something this important. It really is, you know.”

Thank you, Bob, for bringing your heart to work and offering hope to our loved ones in long-term care.

Heart At Work recognizes CVS Health heroes across the country who bring their hearts to work, helping people on their path to better health. Read their stories, watch their videos and celebrate our CVS Health Heart At Work heroes along with us!

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2020: A year like no other

2020: A year like no other
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Danielle Taylor, a CVS Pharmacy District Leader in New Orleans told us, “2020 is one for the books!” In addition to battling with COVID-19, they’ve had an unforgiving run of hurricanes. Danielle has had quite the year herself, as both a daughter and a mother, navigating this pandemic up close and personal. We first met her and her team back in May.

As you’ll see, for this episode of Healthy Communities News, we’re bringing you updates from the inspiring stories we’ve covered over the past year — people rising to meet unprecedented challenges, together.

In this episode of the podcast (below), we’ll take you from Atlanta’s Westside, where its civil rights history still inspires today’s movements; to Boston, where a gutsy nonprofit that’s been using food as medicine for 30 years has reinvented itself in the face of the coronavirus. As well as Miami-Dade County where Branches is equipping students in new ways to keep learning. And downtown Houston, Texas, where the San José Clinic seems to have been preparing for a healthcare crisis just like the one we find ourselves in… since 1922.

Tune in and subscribe to our podcast

Listen to Healthy Communities News on the go using your favorite podcast platform.

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COVID-19 vaccines arrive: CVS Health is ready

COVID-19 vaccines arrive: CVS Health is ready
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Since March, pharmacy technician Alysses Goree and her colleagues have administered thousands of COVID-19 tests and flu vaccines in nursing homes across Houston.

With long-term care facilities accounting for nearly 40% of COVID-19 deaths, residents long for safer environments – and their families, she says. “It’s heartbreaking. All they want is a conversation and a hug.”

With Monday’s nationwide rollout of the first COVID-19 vaccine, manufactured by Pfizer and BioNTech, help is finally arriving. 

Alysses Goree standing at an outdoor CVS Health vaccination location.
Pharmacy Technician Alysses Goree has administered COVID-19 tests to hundreds of Omnicare residents and staff and will provide vaccinations

Retail pharmacies like CVS Pharmacy will play a critical role in vaccinating Americans on a massive scale. “We are 100% staffed right now for long-term care facilities,” Goree says of her local team. “We’re prepared, we understand the environment and we’re going out to help save peoples’ lives and help them see their families.”

CVS Pharmacy was selected to administer COVID-19 vaccinations by more than 40,000 long-term care facilities. 

“We're really excited to be a critical part of providing these services to a majority of the facilities in the country,” says Dr. Sree Chaguturu, Chief Medical Officer of Caremark at CVS Health.

The company will also help deliver vaccines to the general public later in 2021 at no charge to patients. About 70% of Americans live within three miles of a CVS Pharmacy.

As a company that shifted during 2020 to meet people where they are, CVS Health is uniquely prepared for this pivotal moment. This year, the company will administer nearly 20 million vaccines and has delivered more than 9 million COVID-19 tests at over 4,300 drive-thru sites and mobile walk-in kiosks nationwide, many within underserved communities. It also created a digital scheduling system and hired thousands of pharmacists and technicians.

“We've learned a lot from the COVID-19 testing process that we're going to pull forward as part of the COVID-19 vaccination process,” says Sree.

The same digital app created to schedule tests and flu shots, for example, will provide online scheduling for both doses of the vaccine.

“Think of it like a round-trip ticket that ensures a seamless experience when you walk into a CVS Pharmacy,” Sree explains. “In five minutes or so, you will be able to get your vaccine, a bandage, and be on your way.”

The moment feels historic, says Goree. “Thirty years from now, I will be able to say that I helped save lives during the pandemic. I’m so proud.”

A senior man about to get a vaccination from a long-term care nurse.
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CVS Health completes rollout of time delay safes in all of its Oklahoma pharmacies

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New Safes for controlled substances anticipated to help reduce robbery incidents

All 79 CVS Pharmacy locations in the state now using time-delay safe technology

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — As part of an ongoing commitment to helping build healthier and safer communities, CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) completed the installation of time delay safe technology in all of its 79 Oklahoma CVS Pharmacy locations, including those in Target stores. The safes are anticipated to help prevent pharmacy robberies and the potential for associated diversion of controlled substance medications including opioid medications such as oxycodone and hydrocodone by electronically delaying the time it takes for pharmacy employees to open the safe. In addition, the safes are anticipated to help CVS Pharmacy ensure the safety and well-being of its customers and employees.

"I commend the leadership of CVS Pharmacy for implementing this technology that will act as a deterrent for would-be pharmacy thieves and will also thwart diversion from stores," said Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter. "The opioid epidemic has ravaged communities across our state and nation. With the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, experts have seen a resurgence of opioid addictions. This technology will ensure the safety of those behind the counter and from these dangerous drugs getting into the wrong hands. Innovation and ingenuity are just as important as policy proposals when protecting our communities. I thank the company for its work in keeping Oklahomans safe."

CVS Health first implemented time delay safe technology in 2015 in CVS Pharmacy locations across Indianapolis, a city experiencing a high volume of pharmacy robberies at the time. The company saw a 70 percent decline in pharmacy robberies among the Indianapolis stores where time delay safes had been installed.

Since then, the company has introduced time delay safes across 15 states and the District of Columbia, resulting in a 50 percent decline in robberies at CVS pharmacies in those local communities.

"Pharmacy robberies are a challenging issue for every pharmacy, and we are committed to doing all we can to reduce the number of incidents in our Oklahoma stores," said Tom Moriarty, Chief Policy Officer and General Counsel, CVS Health. "We have seen that time delay safes, combined with other security policies and procedures in place at our stores, can greatly reduce these incidents and are pleased to roll out this enhanced security measure. These safes will help ensure that our pharmacies remain a safe environment for our patients and colleagues."

The time delay function cannot be overridden and is designed to serve as a deterrent to would-be pharmacy robbers whose goal is to enter and exit their robbery targets as quickly as possible. All CVS Pharmacy locations in Oklahoma with time delay safes display visible signage warning that time delay safes are in use to prevent on-demand access to controlled substance narcotics.

CVS Health's time delay safe program is one of many company initiatives to help address and prevent prescription opioid misuse and diversion.

Through its Safe Medication Disposal Program in Oklahoma, for example, the company has installed 23 drug disposal kiosks in select CVS Pharmacy locations in the state.

Presently, the company supports more than 2,800 safe medication disposal units in CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide. Over the past several years, the company has also donated over 1,000 units to local law enforcement. Together, these existing medication disposal units have collected more than 2.1 million pounds of unwanted medications that might otherwise have been diverted, misused or ended up in the water supply.

Located in the pharmacy area of the CVS store and similar in design to a postal box, the safe medication disposal units allow customers to drop off unused prescriptions in a container or in sealed plastic bags if liquids or multiple medications are included.

Additionally, CVS Pharmacy locations that do not offer a safe medication disposal kiosk offer DisposeRx packets at no cost to patients filling an opioid prescription for the first time. According to the manufacturer, when warm water and the DisposeRx powder are added to a container, the combination breaks down medications including powders, pills, capsules, tablets, liquids or patches to a non-divertible biodegradable gel, allowing for safe disposal in the trash at home.

CVS Health's commitment to helping prevent and address drug misuse and diversion also extends to community education and increasing access to the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone.

Our Pharmacists Teach Program connects volunteer CVS pharmacists with local students to encourage conversation and teach youth about the dangers of prescription drug misuse. Since 2015, our pharmacists have volunteered their time and delivered curriculum to nearly 600,000 teens and parents across the country. We've partnered with Discovery Education to expand the reach of Pharmacists Teach into more classrooms with a no-cost digital prevention program called Dose of Knowledge. This program provides standards-aligned resources to educators and pharmacists across the U.S. and strives to empower educators and pharmacists to address substance misuse and educate students to make good decisions for the health and well-being of themselves and their community.

Finally, CVS Pharmacy patients can now access the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone without an individual prescription at every CVS Pharmacy location nationwide, including all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. CVS Health has also worked with Google to help people locate naloxone at CVS Pharmacy and other locations in their community using Google's locator tool.

With its national reach and local presence, CVS Health has been working hard to help address opioid misuse and diversion with an enterprise-wide approach. To learn more about CVS Health's efforts, visit the company's Opioid Response website.

For downloadable time delay safe photos, please visit the Media Resource Center.

About CVS Health

CVS Health is a different kind of health care company. We are a diversified health services company with nearly 300,000 employees united around a common purpose of helping people on their path to better health. In an increasingly connected and digital world, we are meeting people wherever they are and changing health care to meet their needs. Built on a foundation of unmatched community presence, our diversified model engages one in three Americans each year. From our innovative new services at HealthHUB locations, to transformative programs that help manage chronic conditions, we are making health care more accessible, more affordable and simply better. Learn more about how we're transforming health at www.cvshealth.com.

Media contact

Monica Prinzing
831-241-8294
PrinzingM@aetna.com

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CVS Health increases access to flu vaccines in communities of need

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WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) today announced it is supporting a nearly $3 million commitment to increasing access to flu vaccines for underserved communities throughout the country. Through its Project Health initiative, CVS Health is contributing $2 million to the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFC) to help distribute flu vaccines to those who may otherwise not have access. Additionally, the company is working with Bank of America and General Motors to support increased access to flu vaccines in even more communities nationwide.

"Underserved communities have been hit particularly hard by COVID-19, so supporting flu prevention in these communities is even more important," said Eileen Howard Boone, SVP of Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy, CVS Health. "Through our work with Free Clinics, and in teaming up with Bank of America and General Motors, we aim to expand our reach to individuals who may not otherwise have access to flu vaccines."

CVS Health's Project Health flu initiative will support free and charitable clinics in areas across the country, helping clinics increase capacity to provide flu vaccinations. Clinics in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas will receive support. These grants extend the mission of Project Health which aims to break down the barriers for people to access quality and affordable health care.

"We are grateful to CVS Health for their continued commitment to supporting the work of Free and Charitable Clinics which provide access to needed health care services to underserved communities throughout the country," said Nicole Lamoureux, NAFC President and CEO. "This program will allow clinics to distribute needed flu vaccines to people in their communities that otherwise might not have access to vaccinations."

In addition to contributing to the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, CVS Health is working with Bank of America and General Motors to reach even more individuals in these areas of significant need. Bank of America is funding vouchers for free flu vaccines, redeemable at CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations in seven select cities: Boston, Detroit, Dallas, Jacksonville, Oklahoma City, Phoenix and Greater Washington, D.C. Additionally, General Motors is funding vouchers for free flu vaccines, redeemable at CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations in the Los Angeles area and across southern California.

"We are committed to working with the public and nonprofit sectors as one global community to address this health crisis and to provide the necessary resources to protect our most vulnerable populations," said Andrew Plepler, head of Environmental, Social and Governance at Bank of America. "Offering access to free flu prevention complements our other health-focused efforts including supplying PPE, supporting community-based testing and care, addressing food insecurity and providing access to mental health resources."

Flu prevention is critical during the COVID-19 pandemic so hospitals are not overwhelmed with cases of both COVID-19 and flu. And with seasonal flu outbreaks beginning as early as October and lasting as late as May, it is never too late to get a flu shot as it is the best defense against getting the flu. Getting a flu shot is one way to help protect individual health, especially for those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illnesses and people with certain chronic health conditions, like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

"We are proud to collaborate with CVS Health to increase access to flu vaccines for underserved communities in the Los Angeles area and across southern California," said Dr. Jeffery Hess, General Motors Chief Medical Director. "Now more than ever, it is important to be protected with a flu shot to help reduce flu illnesses and prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. So many communities are enduring multiple crises during this difficult time, and we are grateful to be able to provide this support."

About CVS Health

CVS Health is a different kind of health care company. We are a diversified health services company with nearly 300,000 employees united around a common purpose of helping people on their path to better health. In an increasingly connected and digital world, we are meeting people wherever they are and changing health care to meet their needs. Built on a foundation of unmatched community presence, our diversified model engages one in three Americans each year. From our innovative new services at HealthHUB locations, to transformative programs that help manage chronic conditions, we are making health care more accessible, more affordable and simply better. Learn more about how we're transforming health at www.cvshealth.com.

Media contact

Courtney Tavener
401-712-3698
Courtney.Tavener@CVSHealth.com

A woman, wearing a face mask, receives a vaccination in an examination room from a nurse practitioner, also wearing a face mask.
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Health with Heart

We’re working to improve the health care experience for all, through innovative products and services and in communities nationwide.

A MinuteClinic practitioner examines a young boy using a stethoscope inside an examination room; a red CVS Health heart outline surrounds them.

A CVS Pharmacy associate runs complimentary diagnostic test for an unknown participant in the Project Health program.

Building healthy communities

We’re committed to tackling public health challenges at the local level and driving inclusive and sustainable business in support of the communities we serve.

Learn how we’re building healthy communities

Improving health care

By looking at the whole picture of care, we’re working to make health more accessible, affordable and simply better.

Learn more about how we’re improving health care
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A HealthHUB concierge seen at a CVS Pharmacy location, wearing a face mask and using a tablet computer.

Innovations in care

Through new technologies, more personalized solutions and better ways to manage chronic conditions, we aim to create a more seamless health care experience for all.

Learn how we’re innovating health care

Improving health care

Healthy Conversations, Episode 2: COVID-19 Recovery

In this episode, Dr. Eric Topol of Scripps Research and Harvard’s Dr. Caroline Buckey, join our own Adam Pellegrini and Firdaus Bhathena to explore the cross-section of big data and virtual care.

Watch & listen to this episode

Building healthy communities

Providing access to food in Boston

During the pandemic, we’ve provided funding that has allowed Boston Medical Center to provide 
no-cost meals to more than 2,000 low-income individuals.

Read more

COVID-19 support

Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve been focused on the critical health care needs stemming from this crisis, including widespread access to testing and vaccinations and addressing inequities in the communities most impacted by the virus.

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Our enterprise-wide COVID-19 response

Our entire company, including every one of our business units and our nearly 300,000 employees have worked since the start of the pandemic to support our customers, communities and patients through this difficult time.

As the pandemic evolves, we will continue to be part of the solution and we stand ready to provide COVID-19 vaccinations once they are available.

Read our COVID-19 Response report

Latest on COVID-19 support

Inclusivity & sustainability

We are committed to driving inclusive and sustainable business in support of the communities we serve.

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Public health challenges

The path to better health is not always a straight line and we recognize that there are many health-related challenges facing communities today. We strive to make the biggest impact possible, both through funding and by changing the way our company operates.

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Latest on public health challenges