Tobacco-free for five years

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Five years ago, we made the bold decision to eliminate tobacco products from all of our CVS Pharmacy stores nationwide, and we’re still the only national pharmacy to do so.

Not only did our decision lead to 100 million fewer packs of cigarettes being sold in the first year since their removal, but we also took our efforts beyond our stores, helping 228 colleges and universities become tobacco free over the past five years and committing $50 million to deliver the first tobacco-free generation through our Be The First initiative.

And with the significant rise in teen e-cigarette use, we’re now working to combat vaping, too, including a $10 million commitment in 2019 to support youth smoking and e-cigarette prevention strategies and education in partnership with Discovery Education and CATCH Global Foundation, and our pledge earlier this year not to work with advertising or public relations agencies who work with tobacco and e-cigarette companies.

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In 2014, we quit tobacco.

Nearly 65%

of Americans agree that our decision to stop selling tobacco reduces the risk of chronic diseaseStatistics from an August 2019 Morning Consult poll of 2,200 adults

62%

of adults agree that retailers have an obligation to limit access to tobacco and e-cigarette productsStatistics from an August 2019 Morning Consult poll of 2,200 adults

81%

of adults support improving community education about the dangers of smokingStatistics from an August 2019 Morning Consult poll of 2,200 adults

Beyond tobacco: Taking steps to transform health care

But our decision to eliminate tobacco was just the start. As a health care company now combined with Aetna, we’re taking even bolder steps to transform the consumer health care experience and help lead our customers, patients and the communities we serve on a path to better health.

On our shelves, customers now have access to more health-focused products and services than ever before. And we recently became the first and only national retailer to require that all vitamins and supplements undergo third-party testing to confirm they meet our high standards.

We’re also removing chemicals like parabens and phthalates from our store brand products and we took SPF less than 15 off our shelves.

At the local level, we’re building healthier communities with a $100 million investment in health and wellness, which includes programs aimed at helping people manage the most prevalent chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Moving into 2020, we will expand our focus on tobacco cessation and prevention, particularly within the Medicaid program where smoking rates are considerably higher than among all adults. We’ll be working with Aetna Better Health managed Medicaid plans and together with CVS Caremark clients interested in creating or expanding smoking cession efforts for their Medicaid members.

At CVS Health, we know that health is a personal journey. And from tobacco removal to our many other health-focused services and offerings, we’re committed to navigating that journey hand-in-hand with our customers and patients to ensure that the future of care is one in which everyone can achieve their best health.

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Branches in Miami supports students and their families amid COVID-19

Branches in Miami supports students and their families amid COVID-19
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The coronavirus has touched all of our lives in one way or another. Children, in particular, are in an ongoing state of flux. Many classes in schools and colleges across the country have been upended. We did find an oasis in South Florida where an organization called Branches has been working diligently for over 25 years to serve the neighborhood’s youth and their families.

For the podcast (below) we spoke with executive director Brent McLaughlin and Kim Torres, Director of Student Services, and Branches partner Rosa Santiago — as well as students Kelson Baptiste, Vicshonda “Vicky” Bellany, and Melvin Amaya.

Aetna Better Health®, a Medicaid managed care plan in Florida, has a long-standing relationship with Branches as a community partner.

Tune in and subscribe to our podcast

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

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A tutor with the Branches organization of Miami, Florida, assists a young male student with a school assignment on a laptop computer.
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Aetna Better Health donates $300,000 to Ohio nonprofits

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A mother carries her daughter outdoors during dusk. A CVS Health heart outline is in the background.

Contributions part of Aetna’s more than $1 million investment to support local Ohio communities

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Aetna Better Health of Ohio (ABH-OH), a part of the Aetna Medicaid organization and a CVS Health company, today announced it recently donated $300,000 to three Ohio nonprofits. The donations will help the organizations expand access to primary care services, improve the health status of at-risk communities and provide pregnant women and children with behavioral health support.

Throughout the past year, Aetna has invested more than $1 million to various nonprofit organizations across the state as part of a statewide effort to address social determinants of health and provide underserved communities with more options to access quality health care. Additionally, CVS Health recently announced a $13.7 million investment to help renovate 230 low-income housing units at the Rosewind apartments in Columbus. The funds will also be used to make significant improvements to the local community center and support new community programs in the area.

“Supporting our local communities is a core part of our mission to help individuals and families on their path to better health,” said Debra Bacon, Chief Operating Officer, Aetna Better Health. “The role of our nonprofit partners has never been more important, and we are committed to working together to develop solutions that will lead to increased access and improved health outcomes.”

Aetna Better Health of Ohio recently donated $100,000 to each of the following organizations across the state:

  • Healthcare Collaborative of Greater Columbus (HCGC): With over 1.3 million Ohioans having limited or no access to primary care services, HCGC focuses on bringing key stakeholders together to improve the value of health care throughout the region. HCGC will use the contribution from ABH-OH to fund training and certification for 20 Community Health Workers.

  • Ohio Children’s Alliance (OCA): As a statewide child advocacy organization, the Alliance is committed to sustainably improving the delivery of services to children, young adults and families through policy advocacy, performance improvement and member support. The $100,000 donation will enable the Alliance-member behavioral health agencies across the state to implement same-day access for initial behavioral health assessments for children.

  • Moms2B: An innovative, proven, community-based pregnancy and parenting group program for low-income families, Columbus-based Moms2B aims to help women at high risk for infant mortality learn tools that will enable them to make healthier choices and deliver healthy, full-term infants. The $100,000 ABH-OH donation will help integrate mental health treatment and counseling as part of the Moms2B program, utilizing The Ohio State University Wexner Center’s Woman’s Behavioral Health Team.

“We greatly appreciate the continued support that Aetna Better Health of Ohio offers to our organization and clients,” said Carrie Baker, President & CEO, Healthcare Collaborative of Greater Columbus. “This funding is vital to supporting the efforts of our dedicated staff who work tirelessly to provide medically underserved individuals with access to health care.” 

“We made a commitment as an organization that we would work to reduce wait times and improve access to mental health services for children and families,” said Mark Mecum, CEO of the Ohio Children’s Alliance. “Our new collaboration with Aetna Better Health of Ohio provides the resources we need to begin achieving this goal across all of Ohio.”

"This generous donation will enable us to provide behavioral health support and education services for expectant moms,” said Dr. Patricia Gabbe, Moms2B Founder and Professor of Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. "Through our collaborative efforts with Aetna Better Health of Ohio, we're working to improve infant mortality outcomes and enhance the quality of life for new moms and their babies." 

As of June 30, 2020, Aetna Better Health of Ohio has 275 employees in the state and serves approximately 26,000 Medicare-Medicaid (MMP) members.

About Aetna Medicaid

Aetna Medicaid Administrators LLC (Aetna Medicaid), a CVS Health business, has over 30 years of experience managing the care of the most medically vulnerable, using innovative approaches and a local presence in each market to achieve both successful health care results and effective cost outcomes. Aetna Medicaid has particular expertise serving high-need Medicaid members, including those who are dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare. Currently, Aetna Medicaid owns and/or administers Medicaid managed health care plans under the names of Aetna Better Health and other affiliate names. Together, these plans serve approximately 2.4 million people in 16 states, including Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Texas. For more information, see www.aetnabetterhealth.com.

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CVS Health invests $13.7 million to renovate low-income housing, fund community programs in Columbus

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Investment in South Linden’s Rosewind community kicks-off the company’s nearly $600 million commitment to address racial inequality

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) today announced it will invest $13.7 million to help renovate 230 low-income housing units at the Rosewind apartments in Columbus, Ohio. These funds will also be used to make significant improvements to the local community center and support new community programs in the area.

The investment kicks-off the company’s commitment of nearly $600 million over five years to address racial inequality and social determinants of health in Black communities.  This commitment includes an emphasis on increasing access to affordable housing, which is inextricably linked to health.

“When people have access to high-quality, affordable housing, it puts them in a better position to improve their overall wellbeing, including taking care of their health or managing a chronic disease,” said David Casey, Chief Diversity Officer, CVS Health. “One aspect of our commitment to address racial inequality is addressing social determinants of health – like housing – at the community level, which is where we can make a meaningful impact.” 

CVS Health will work with the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) and the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing on the project.  Through CVS Health’s investment, CMHA will spend $50,000 per unit in much-needed rehab and repairs. 
  
“The redevelopment of Rosewind is part of CMHA’s $250 million investment in affordable housing in 2020,” said CMHA President and CEO Charles Hillman. “Stable housing provides a solid foundation, but people also need access to health care, employment, training and other services to reach their fullest potential. We’re excited to collaborate with CVS Health to provide new opportunities for our residents and revitalize the Linden community.”
 
Within the Rosewind complex in the South Linden neighborhood of Columbus, 95% of residents are Black and have an average annual household income of less than $17,000.  Average life expectancy in South Linden is just under 70 years – more than seven years shorter than the average in all of Franklin County, which includes Columbus and certain neighboring communities.

“Housing and health care go hand-in-hand, and health outcomes are impacted by housing affordability and stability,” said Peg Moertl, President and CEO, Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing. “We are pleased to be working with CVS Health and the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority to provide quality housing, economic support, and educational training opportunities to those families and individuals facing challenges in the Linden community.”

The renovations, as well as new community programming funded by CVS Health, will provide comprehensive local support to residents, including the following new on-site programs:

  • Health and wellness programming through CMHA and the Healthcare Collaborative of Greater Columbus to provide individuals with the best health care experience possible on-site;

  • On-site health screenings and COVID-19 testing to bring preventative health care services directly to the community, especially as the pandemic continues to expose health disparities among the Black population;

  • An educational cooking series with the nonprofit organization Local Matters, to increase access to fresh, nutritious foods and teach residents how to make healthy and tasty meals, which will improve their overall health outcomes;

  • Maternal programs – with 8.5 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in Franklin County and 25.7 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in South Linden, there will be a new program to support maternal health at Rosewind that will equip new and pregnant mothers with parenting resources; 

  • Community programs where individuals will have the opportunity to have an open dialogue about the root causes of systemic inequalities and barriers.

CVS Health will also establish a new program at Rosewind as part of its ongoing workforce initiatives to provide employment services and training to the Rosewind community, focused on empowerment and building local relationships that will help community members achieve meaningful employment opportunities. 

"Finding ways to encourage housing that is affordable to everyone is not just the right thing to do," said Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. "It helps the region remain competitive in attracting and retaining businesses."

Since 1997, CVS Health and Aetna, a CVS Health company, have invested more than $1 billion in affordable housing and community initiatives. In 2019, the company invested $67 million in affordable housing across the country, and the company plans to exceed that amount over each of the next five years to help address housing insecurities and promote community health improvement in Black communities. 

About CVS Health

CVS Health employees are united around a common goal of becoming the most consumer-centric health company. We’re evolving based on changing consumer needs and meeting people where they are, whether that’s in the community at one of our nearly 10,000 local touchpoints, in the home, or in the palm of their hand. Our newest offerings – from HealthHUB® locations that are redefining what a pharmacy can be, to innovative programs that help manage chronic conditions – are designed to create a higher-quality, simpler and more affordable experience. Learn more about how we’re transforming health at www.cvshealth.com.

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Project Health

Project Health


Increasing access to health screenings

Project Health is a key initiative of CVS Health’s continued commitment to improve access to health care and ensure that cost isn’t a barrier to important preventive services. Our free annual health screening events are held in select CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide, focused within communities with large multicultural and uninsured populations. They are open to everyone and do not require an appointment.

“Our free health screenings can help identify health concerns or risk factors for participants who may not have access to care otherwise. Chronic conditions, which can often be life-threatening, can be treated very effectively when identified early, helping to improve a patient’s health and well-being, as well as reducing costs for both the patient and the overall health care delivery system,” said Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, CVS Health.

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Helping customers on their path to better health

Project Health offers an array of free comprehensive health assessment screenings, including Body Mass Index (BMI), blood pressure, glucose and total cholesterolCVS Pharmacy® measures total cholesterol. It does not offer a full lipid panel (HDL, LDL). For accurate screening results, it is recommended to refrain from consuming anything except water for 8 hours before a glucose test and 9 to 12 hours before a total cholesterol test. screenings, which can help detect risk for chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. The screening events also feature further information on weight management, diabetes resources, and smoking cessation programs.

Once screened, patients have access to on-site consultations with bilingual nurse practitioners or physician assistants who will analyze results and refer patients who require additional medical care and follow up to no-cost or low-cost medical facilities nearby or to their primary care physician.

View the full calendar of Project Health events (English) 

View the full calendar of Project Health events (Spanish)

Expanding preventive care through Project Health

Since its founding in 2006, Project Health has delivered more than $127 million in free health care services to nearly 1.7 million Americans. These screenings are often how an estimated one-third of attendees first become aware of a health concern or condition.

Read more
Cornelius Raven

A life-saving screening

Cornelius Raven attended a Project Health event where a screening showed he had very high blood pressure. He was immediately sent to the hospital where doctors found that he was having a stroke.

Read Cornelius Raven’s story

Locate an in-store event

A total of 597 Project Health events will take place in 12 multicultural communities across the country, offering free wellness screenings to many uninsured or underinsured Americans.

View our full calendar of Project Health events Read the press release

How healthy food is healing Massachusetts

How healthy food is healing Massachusetts
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Community Servings in Boston, Massachusetts, started in 1990 as a program to feed a small group of AIDS patients suffering from malnutrition. It has turned into a community hub that provides thousands of medically tailored meals each month, job training, and so much more. The COVID-19 pandemic has not slowed their work. In fact, it’s increased demand and CVS Health stepped up to help them hire a temporary workforce of kitchen staff and delivery drivers.

While the restaurant industry continues to struggle, many individuals are going back to work, cooking for their community. The local Plumbers Union donated their trucks and their time to help ramp up deliveries. Over the course of two months, these on-demand solutions helped Community Servings distribute 27,000 entrees to Boys & Girls Clubs, homeless shelters, and others.

David Waters, CEO, points out, “It's the community serving the community. We can accomplish so much together.” In addition to the team featured in the video above, we caught up with COO Kevin Conner, executive chef Brian Hillmer, and Training Kitchen program graduates Ricardo Mercado and Jermaine McNeill, who explain how they make it all happen in this month’s podcast episode.

Tune in and subscribe to our podcast

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

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A volunteer prepares bags of food for donation.

Our COVID-19 community support

As we work with our community partners to address the COVID-19 pandemic, our purpose of helping people on their path to better health is more important than ever. With many individuals and communities in need, we are focused on finding meaningful ways to strengthen the communities we serve.

A medical professional, in full personal protective equipment (PPE), inserts a swab into a vial to be processed to test for COVID-19. The vial is surrounded by a red-colored CVS Health heart outline.

Here’s a look into how we’re supporting our local communities

A woman, wearing a face mask and gloves, handles produce in cardboard boxes.

Supporting relief efforts in our local communities

There are many individuals and communities in need and we are finding meaningful ways to support our employees, patients, customers and partners nationally and in the communities we serve.

Read more

Transform Health 2030

At the beginning of this new decade, we are reinforcing our commitment through Transform Health 2030, our new corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy focused on improving the health of the people and communities we serve, and to support the health of our business and the planet.

Read our 2019 CSR report
A stylized CVS Health® heart in the shape of red leaves on a green grass background.
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Pharmacists Teach

Educating students and parents about prescription drug misuse

Prescription drug misuse and abuse can impact our nation’s youth, who face peer pressure and a lack of knowledge about the dangers of misuse.

As part of our ongoing commitment to help educate the public about the challenges surrounding addiction, CVS Health created Pharmacists Teach, a no-cost educational prevention program that provides students and parents with information about prescription drug misuse and abuse.

Since 2015, Pharmacists Teach has reached more than 560,000 students and parents nationwide and that number continues to grow.

Student-focused education

Since 2015, CVS Pharmacists have delivered education to students in grades 6 through 12 at schools, youth organizations, and faith-based groups. Led by one of our pharmacists, students have been able to learn the facts and hear stories that share how the lives of other youth were forever changed by misuse or abuse of prescription drugs.

Now, we are excited to announce CVS Health and Discovery Education have partnered to further expand the Pharmacists Teach program into the classroom with a no-cost prevention program, Dose of Knowledge. This program provides standards-aligned resources to educators and pharmacists across the U.S. This program 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.

Youth presentations can be delivered to groups of any size, from small groups to large assemblies, and is delivered at no cost to the school or organization.

Parent-focused education

Research shows that children who learn about the risks of drugs from their parents are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs than those who don’t get this information at home.DEA/ED. Growing Up Drug Free: A Parent’s Guide to Prevention

With this in mind, we expanded our outreach to create a prevention education program for adults to encourage parents, caregivers, friends and family members to talk about prescription misuse and abuse by arming them with knowledge about commonly abused drugs and how to identify the signs and symptoms of prescription misuse and abuse as well as helpful tips and tools needed to navigate challenging questions and answers around the topic.

“Prescription for Parents” includes impactful videos of real life stories and is led by a pharmacist who can answer questions about prescription misuse and abuse.

This presentation can be delivered to groups of any size at school parent meetings, community centers, religious organizations, and company meetings.

Contact us

If you’re interested in bringing these programs to your school, community or business, email us at PharmacistsTeach@CVSHealth.com.

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Pharmacists Teach

1,100

adolescents, on average, state to misuse prescription pain relievers each day.

Heart At Work: Victor Hendrix

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“Every time we leave CVS, I realize that one of the employees has taken time to talk with me and help me. I use these as teaching moments for my teenage sons. I point out that they can have a positive impact on others through a few simple words,” explains Erika Page White, a TV actress and stay-at-home mom.

About six months ago she met Victor Hendrix, a cashier in Store #6394, located in Brentwood, Tennessee. She says, “I couldn’t find my $5 coupon. I went to the ExtraCare coupon center and couldn’t work it. Seeing that I was stressed, Victor helped me. His calmness made me calm.”
Erika describes, “Victor is super joyful and so kind in greeting everyone. He and his co-workers have become a part of our community and this makes me feel comfortable.”

Store manager Sean Bock says, “Victor is outgoing, bubbly and never seems to have a bad day. He brings a smile to everyone’s face.”

Victor was shocked when he learned that someone tweeted about him to CVS Health. “He deserves the recognition,” adds Sean. “So we gave him a little party at work with balloons and everything. Customers know him by name, and he knows all of them by name, too. When Victor is working, the shift is always more upbeat.”

TV actor Erika Page White, pictured with her son, Justin, husband, Bryan, and son, Jackson (left to right).
"CVS thank you for being a light in our community,” says TV actor Erika Page White, pictured with her son, Justin, husband, country artist, singer, songwriter, Bryan White and son, Jackson (left to right). Photography by Daniel C. White Photography

Victor joined what has become the CVS Pharmacy family about 36 years ago. He was a cashier with SuperX, which was purchased by RevCo and is now CVS Pharmacy. “I was surprised to learn about Erika’s tweet. What she said about me is just how I treat everyone. It did make me feel good that someone took the time to appreciate me, and that my manager and team gave me a party in the store.”

Erika asked about the source of Victor’s joy. He explained, “My joy and caring come from my heart, from God and my mother. She was a strong believer in God and always told me to trust in God. She also said to treat people the way they should be treated.”

“We are big CVS fans. We use it as our one-stop shopping. From snacks for my teenagers who play sports, to beauty products for me, and the drive-thru is super helpful. We also greatly appreciate the follow-up messages about our prescriptions. CVS thank you for being a light in our community,” Erika concludes.

Victor Hendrix, store cashier at CVS Pharmacy.
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Aetna and Lyft to give schools access to essential rides for families

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HARTFORD, Conn. — Aetna, a CVS Health company (NYSE: CVS), today announced it will give $100,000 in essential rides for families in school districts around the country such as Chicago, Denver, Baltimore and Seattle, in collaboration with the National School Boards Association (NSBA) and Lyft to help families this school year.  

Aetna Senior Vice President of Public and Labor Erich Twachtman explained, “By teaming up with NSBA and Lyft, Aetna is demonstrating our commitment to addressing the social determinants of health (including access to transportation) during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Specifically, this contribution will help public school students and their families prepare for whatever the new school year looks like during this extraordinary crisis.”

This collaboration is an expansion of LyftUp – Lyft’s comprehensive effort to expand transportation access to those who need it most. A significant challenge among these school district families is securing transportation to complete essential trips. “By activating LyftUp, we’re able to help them get to grocery stores and food banks and access other essential services,” said Lisa Boyd, director of Social Impact at Lyft. 

NSBA has identified high risk communities in targeted locations across the country who will benefit from this program. Here’s how the program works:

  • Transportation challenged families in rural and disadvantaged areas will receive Lyft codes.
  • The Lyft codes are valued at $20 and $40.
  • The codes have a 60-day expiration date but can be used multiple times within the sixty days until the full dollar amount has been used.

Students in need and their families can access the ride-sharing resources at www.lyft.com/lyftup.

“NSBA is happy to collaborate with Aetna to provide much needed support to public school students and families who are struggling during this pandemic,” said Anna Maria Chávez, National School Boards Association Executive Director & CEO. “We value our relationship with Aetna and Lyft and look forward to collaborating on future initiatives that expand opportunities and increase equitable access for our nation’s school children.”

About Aetna 

Aetna, a CVS Health business, serves an estimated 38 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental and behavioral health plans, and medical management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services, workers' compensation administrative services and health information technology products and services. Aetna's customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, visit www.aetna.com and explore how Aetna is helping to build a healthier world. 

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