CVS Health delivering on commitment to establish up to 1,000 COVID-19 test sites by end of May

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First phase will see drive-thru sites open across five states this week; more than 900 additional sites will open over next two weeks

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Building on the company’s comprehensive efforts to help slow the spread of the virus, on Friday, May 15 CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) will open more than 50 COVID-19 test sites at select CVS Pharmacy drive-thru locations across Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. The opening of hundreds of additional test sites across the country will be announced over the next two weeks.

The new sites will utilize self-swab tests and mark the next phase of the company’s COVID-19 testing strategy, announced April 27 at the White House. CVS Health expects to have up to 1,000 locations across the country offering this service by the end of May, with the goal of processing up to 1.5 million tests per month subject to availability of supplies and lab capacity. The company currently operates large-scale rapid test sites in coordination with five states, which can process a total of nearly 30,000 tests per week.

"While the large-scale test sites we’ve been operating since early April have proven successful, this new approach allows us to utilize our presence in communities across the country and bring testing closer to home," said Larry J. Merlo, President and CEO, CVS Health. "Our frontline employees will continue to play a critical role in the testing process, with members of their communities directly benefitting from their dedication and selflessness.”

Self-swab tests will be available to individuals meeting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria, in addition to age guidelines. Patients must register in advance at CVS.com beginning Friday, May 15 to schedule an appointment. Patients will be required to stay in their cars and directed to the pharmacy drive-thru window where they will be provided with a test kit and given instructions, and a CVS Pharmacy team member will observe the self-swab process to ensure it is done properly. Tests will be sent to an independent, third-party lab for processing and the results will be available in approximately three days.

Testing will not take place inside any retail locations, and CVS Pharmacy, HealthHUB and MinuteClinic will continue to serve customers and patients.

More information on steps CVS Health has taken to address the COVID-19 pandemic, including support for health care providers and clinicians facing financial and administrative strain, is available at the company's frequently updated COVID-19 resource center.

About CVS Health

CVS Health employees are united around a common goal of becoming the most consumer-centric health company in the world. 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.

Media contact

T.J. Crawford
212-457-0583
crawfordt2@aetna.com

Cars in queue at a CVS Pharmacy drive-thru location, waiting to take the expanded self-swab COVID-19 test. (Available at certain locations.)
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Aetna Announces the 2019 Voices of Health Competition Winners

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HARTFORD, Conn. Aetna, a CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) company, today announced the winners of the 2019 Voices of Health competition, a celebration of grassroots non-profit organizations across the country that are working to address social determinants of health in their communities.

The 102 participating non-profits promote health and well-being by addressing a wide range of community issues such as childhood obesity, access to affordable prescriptions and health care services, and providing food to the homeless, just to name a few. Each organization launched an online voting campaign – soliciting votes via their social media channels as well as through other marketing strategies - in their respective communities to compete for a $20,000 prize, among other prizes. In total, Aetna awarded $410K in grants to community organizations through the 2019 Voices of Health competition.

“The purpose of this competition is to support local non-profits and their missions to improve health and well-being in our communities, who go above and beyond where they can, and the winners this year do just that,” said Floyd Green, vice president of Aetna Community Affairs. “We believe that addressing health concerns outside of the doctor’s office is crucial to overall health and well-being and the reason why these organizations are singled out for their achievements. We are proud of their efforts and congratulate them all.”

The winners of the 2019 Voices of Health competition are:

  • House of Dawn, Atlanta, GA

  • New Hope Ministries, Central Pennsylvania

  • empowHERment, Charlotte, NC

  • Talbert House, Cincinnati, OH

  • Providence House, Inc., Cleveland, OH

  • Speak Project, Columbus, OH

  • Covenant Community Care, Detroit, MI

  • Exceptional Parents Unlimited Inc., Fresno, CA

  • Family Ties Family Resource Services, Houston, TX

  • Janet Goeske Foundation, Inland Empire, CA

  • The Arc Jacksonville, Jacksonville, FL

  • YouthCare, King County, WA

  • Hope Street Margolis Family Center, Los Angeles, CA

  • Home of the Innocents, Louisville, KY

  • Haitian Youth and Community Center of Florida, Inc., Miami, FL

  • Jawonio, New York, NY

  • Dwana Smallwood Performing Arts Center, New York, NY

  • Children Crisis Treatment Center, Philadelphia, PA

  • East End Cooperative Ministry, Pittsburgh, PA

  • Via Services, Santa Clara, CA

  • Tacoma Community House, Tacoma, WA

“The videos created by each non-profit are incredibly powerful. Each tells an insightful story,” said Green. “It’s a great reminder of how local grassroots organizations can and do have tremendous, positive social impact.”The finalists in the competition were required to develop a short video explaining how their organization is making a difference where they operate locally. Each group was responsible for soliciting votes in a number of different ways, including sharing their videos through social media and other communication channels and directing voters to www.aetnavoicesofhealth.com.

The Voices of Health program is aligned with “Destination: Health,” a series of CVS Health business programs with an enhanced focus on helping people improve their health outside of a clinical setting.

About Aetna

Aetna, a CVS Health business, serves an estimated 39 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. @AetnaNews

Media Contact

Katherine Wetzel
404-859-0703
wetzelk@aetna.com

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Free Screenings, Helpful Advice and a Visit from Pro Athletes at Project Health

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A customer receives a free health screening.
This Project Health event in Atlanta was one of nearly 600 targeting underserved communities.
A customer receiving a free health screening.
More than 87 percent of patients who attend Project Health events report following-up with their primary care physician.
A CVS Pharmacy store with Project Health sign.
Nearly 600 Project Health free health screenings were held in CVS store locations across the country.

Jean Peterson dropped by the City Line Avenue CVS Pharmacy in West Philadelphia to pick up pictures she’d dropped off at the photo department. Moments later, she also came away with a better picture of her own health — and the chance to snap a selfie with two local heroes: former Villanova basketball star Donte DiVincenzo and state Rep. Morgan Cephas.

Peterson had happened upon one of the many free screenings that CVS Health is offering across the country. During the next four months, nearly 600 Project Health events will take place in multicultural communities with a large number of uninsured or underinsured Americans. At each event, participants receive on-the-spot assessments of weight, blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol levels – tests that can help detect risk for chronic conditions such diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.

Since its founding in 2006, Project Health’s free health and wellness screenings have delivered more than $127 million in free health care services to nearly 1.7 million Americans.

One of those Americans was Peterson. The 70-year-old retired nurse learned that her blood sugar was a bit high, most likely due to medications she was given after a recent back surgery. “I always take advantage of things like this,” she said. “It doesn’t hurt and it keeps me in touch with what I need to take care of.”

Know Your Numbers

Sometimes, the people who think they need the testing the least are the ones who benefit the most.

Brenda, a screener technician at the Project Health event in the Kendall neighborhood of Miami, said a lot of very fit people come in to be screened, usually because they want to know their BMI. But other tests are just as important. One of her patients was diagnosed with high blood pressure.

“The guy said, ‘I’m very fit, I go to the gym and stuff like that, I train people, too,’” said Brenda, who is applying to medical school. But they tested him three more times – once manually – and the results were the same. “And the doctor was like, ‘Hey, you need to go to your doctor and follow up. Please.’ We were very shocked. He looked extremely healthy, very muscular.”

Speaking Their Language

Many of our Miami stores sit in Hispanic neighborhoods, emphasizing the importance of having bilingual screeners, says Elena Ferrales, a health screening manager for Project Health.

Cristina, a young mother, wheeled her seven-month-old into the Miami store and signed up to have a screening while her baby slept in the stroller. She had diabetes while she was pregnant, and though her levels have gone down, she tries to check them regularly. After her screening, she sat with the doctor and, conversing in both English and Spanish, they discussed her results and he gave her food recommendations.

Later, a similar conversation with an older man was conducted entirely in Spanish.

A Slam Dunk for Health

As much as anyone, professional athletes understand the importance of good health. They also understand that it’s not always easy for people to access the care they need to achieve it.

“If I wake up feeling something is wrong, I know there’s a handful of people ready to check me out,” says Donte DiVincenzo, a two-time NCAA basketball champ with the Villanova Wildcats, now a point guard with the Milwaukee Bucks. “But I shouldn’t get special treatment just because I’m a pro athlete. Everyone should have these resources.”

A handful of athletes were featured speakers at Project Health events. In addition to DiVincenzo, who appeared in Philadelphia, Los Angeles Clippers forward Mfiondu Kabengele spoke in Anaheim and Heat player Bam Adebayo attended the Miami event.

Kabengele says he learned during his first year with the NBA the importance of undergoing regular checkups. Small everyday steps, he says, can add up.

“When you have poor health, everything dumbs down,” he says. “When you're healthy, your motor is good. Preventive care is a reality check to make improvements.”

Being good sports, the athletes joined the customers to be screened. Adebayo – a player for the Heat – noted how easy it was to get screened inside the store.

“You don’t have the anxiety, you don’t have to have an appointment, you don’t need to be there at 8, the anxiety of waiting around, what if something is wrong with me?” he said. “You just walk in, get it, see how it goes.”

Access for All

Morgan Cephas, a track and field star at Central High School in Philadelphia and now a Pennsylvania state representative, knows the importance of health care from the perspective of both an athlete and a policymaker. As vice chair of the House Democrats’ Women’s Health Caucus, she noted that 10 percent of those in her district are uninsured or underinsured.

“Not everyone is the daughter or cousin or friend of a state representative,” she said. “They shouldn’t have to choose between managing their health and keeping a roof over their heads.”

An Immediate Impact

What happens after the screenings is up to the individual. But for one participant, the consultation had an immediate impact.

Zita James, 68, had been on her way to the nearby coffee shop when she noticed signs outside for the free screenings at the Philadelphia location. After her detour to CVS, she chose to make a positive change to her health.

“It stopped me going next door and getting two jelly doughnuts!” she laughed.

For more information about CVS Health’s efforts to improve care across the nation, visit our News & Insights page and the CVS Health Impact Dashboard. To stay informed about the latest updates and innovations from CVS Health, register for content alerts and our Leaders in Care newsletter.

A customer receiving a free health screening.
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MinuteClinic Expands Video Visit Offering to Michigan, Pennsylvania and South Carolina

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MinuteClinic Video Visits are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the CVS Pharmacy App and on-line

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) today announced that MinuteClinic, the company’s retail medical clinic, has rolled out its video visit offering in the states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and South Carolina. People in these states with minor illnesses, minor injuries and skin conditions can now seek care through MinuteClinic Video Visits, a telehealth offering. MinuteClinic Video Visits provide patients with access to care 24 hours a day, seven days a week from their mobile device or computer.

“We’re excited to now be able to offer MinuteClinic Video Visits in Michigan, Pennsylvania and South Carolina as we continue to build our national practice for our virtual care offering,” said Sharon Vitti, President, MinuteClinic. “This new MinuteClinic service demonstrates our commitment to delivering high-quality care when and where our patients need it, at prices they can afford; providing people who live and work in these states with access to an innovative, on-demand health care option right from their cell phone or computer.”

MinuteClinic Video Visits can be used to provide care for patients ages two years and older who are seeking treatment for a minor illness, minor injury, or a skin condition and are initiated through a computer or mobile device, including through the CVS Pharmacy app.  Patients who opt to seek care through a MinuteClinic Video Visit will experience the same high-quality, evidence-based care they receive at traditional MinuteClinic locations inside select CVS Pharmacy and Target stores.

When requesting a video visit, each patient will complete a health questionnaire and be matched to a board-certified health care provider licensed in their state.  Prior to the start of the video-enabled visit, the provider will review the completed questionnaire together with the patient’s medical history. During the MinuteClinic Video Visit, the provider will assess the patient’s condition and determine the appropriate course of treatment following evidence-based clinical care guidelines. For patients who require a prescription as part of their treatment plan, the provider will submit the prescription to the patient’s preferred pharmacy. If it is determined the patient should be seen in person for follow-up care or testing, the provider will recommend that the patient visit a health care provider in their community, such as their primary care provider or a nearby MinuteClinic location.

A MinuteClinic Video Visit costs $59, which is currently payable by credit, debit, FSA and HSA cards. Insurance coverage will be added to the experience in the coming months. The service, first introduced in August 2018, is now available in a total of 32 states - Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming -- and Washington D.C.  Since MinuteClinic Video Visits launched in August 2018, thousands of Video Visits have been conducted, with more than third of them taking place outside of traditional clinic hours.

Information about initiating a MinuteClinic Video Visit is part of the clinic locator on the MinuteClinic web site for states where the service is available. A patient can also initiate a MinuteClinic Video Visit directly from the CVS Pharmacy app.

MinuteClinic Video Visits are made possible through our collaborative work with Teladoc (NYSE: TDOC), the global leader in virtual care, and by leveraging Teladoc’s technology platform.

About CVS Health

CVS Health is the nation's premier health innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Whether in one of its pharmacies or through its health services and plans, CVS Health is pioneering a bold new approach to total health by making quality care more affordable, accessible, simple and seamless. CVS Health is community-based and locally focused, engaging consumers with the care they need when and where they need it. The Company has approximately 9,900 retail locations, approximately 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with more than 102 million plan members, a dedicated senior pharmacy care business serving more than one million patients per year and expanding specialty pharmacy services. CVS Health also serves an estimated 38 million people through traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including rapidly expanding Medicare Advantage offerings and a leading standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. The Company believes its innovative health care model increases access to quality care, delivers better health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs. Find more information about how CVS Health is shaping the future of health at https://www.cvshealth.com.

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Christine Cramer
CVS Health
401-770-3317

Christine.Cramer@cvshealth.com

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NBA Point Guard and Former Villanova Wildcat Donte DiVincenzo Helps CVS Health Kick Off Free Health Screenings in Philadelphia

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48 Project Health events help to eliminate barriers to access, affordability and quality care

Project Health has delivered more than $6 million worth of free health services locally since 2010

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of a commitment to building healthier communities, CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) celebrated the expansion of its annual Project Health free health screening campaign with a community event that took place on Friday, September 20th at CVS Pharmacy, 7520 City Line Ave., Philadelphia. Friday's event was one of 48 free health screenings taking place in the Philadelphia area between now and the end of the year.

Donte DiVincenzo, NBA point guard for the Milwaukee Bucks and two-time NCAA champion with the Villanova Wildcats, attended the event, along with CVS Health's Dr. Garth Graham, community members and CVS Pharmacy field leadership to discuss the importance of being proactive about your health, eating well and not smoking.

"CVS Health is committed to expanding access to quality and affordable care, both through our retail footprint and with national and local non-profits and organizations who share our belief that better health starts at the community level," said Garth Graham, M.D., vice president of community health and impact at CVS and president of the Aetna Foundation. "We were thrilled to be in in Philadelphia to celebrate the expansion of Project Health and look forward to providing local residents with free health screenings throughout the rest of the year, as part of our commitment to building healthier communities."

Project Health events, which will be held Thursdays Sundays in select stores across Philadelphia through the end of the year, are open to everyone and do not require an appointment. 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.

"Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important for me, on and off the court," said DiVincenzo. "With Project Health helping people keep tabs on their blood pressure, weight and cholesterol at these free health screening events, CVS Health is setting the people of Philadelphia up for a healthier future."

An array of free comprehensive health assessment screenings are available at these events, including blood pressure, body mass Index (BMI), glucose and total cholesterol screenings, which can help detect risk for chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. The expansion of Project Health will also do more to screen for social determinants of health that affect personal health and communities. A study has shown that up to 60 percent of life expectancy may be driven by behavioral, social and environmental factors including family, education, housing, and access to affordable healthy food.Schroeder, SA. (2007). We Can Do Better Improving the Health of the American People. NEJM. 357:1221-8. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa073350

Through Project Health, CVS Health has hosted over 600 preventive care events across Philadelphia since 2010, conducting 51,000 free health screenings, counseling 1,812 people on how to stop smoking and donating over $6 million worth of free medical services.

Project Health events have a proven track record of improving patient engagement and ultimately, healthier outcomes. More than 87 percent of patients who attend Project Health events report following-up with their primary care physician and were significantly more likely to proactively discuss their blood pressure, BMI and blood sugar levels, according to the company's own metrics.

"I am thrilled for the residents of my district to have the opportunity to receive free walk-in health and wellness screenings through Project Health," said State Representative Morgan Cephas. For some, this may be the only opportunity they have had this year or maybe ever to speak with a medical professional about important wellness measurements, such as glucose and cholesterol levels. It's a critical service that everyone can benefit from."

Established in 2006, Project Health has delivered more than $127 million in free health care services to nearly 1.7 million people in multicultural communities with a large number of uninsured or underinsured Americans.

For a full calendar of Project Health events, visit www.cvs.com/project-health (in Spanish: www.cvs.com/proyectosalud).

About CVS Health
CVS Health is the nation's premier health innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Whether in one of its pharmacies or through its health services and plans, CVS Health is pioneering a bold new approach to total health by making quality care more affordable, accessible, simple and seamless. CVS Health is community-based and locally focused, engaging consumers with the care they need when and where they need it. The Company has approximately 9,900 retail locations, approximately 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with more than 102 million plan members, a dedicated senior pharmacy care business serving more than one million patients per year and expanding specialty pharmacy services. CVS Health also serves an estimated 38 million people through traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including rapidly expanding Medicare Advantage offerings and a leading standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. The Company believes its innovative health care model increases access to quality care, delivers better health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs. Find more information about how CVS Health is shaping the future of health at https://www.cvshealth.com.

Media Contact:
Ethan Slavin
860-273-6095
SlavinE@aetna.com

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Aetna Voices of Health Competition Kicks Off Today

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HARTFORD, Conn. Aetna, a CVS Health company, announced today that online voting is underway for the 2019 "Aetna Voices of Health" program at www.aetnavoicesofhealth.com. Voices of Health is a competition and celebration of grassroots non-profit organizations across the country that are working to address social determinants of health in their communities.

The 102 Voices of Health participants aim to promote health and well-being by addressing a wide range of community issues such as childhood obesity, access to affordable prescriptions and health care services, and providing food to the homeless, just to name a few. The voting period runs from September 9 through October 13.

Aetna will award $20,000 to the organization that receives the most online votes in its market. Participating markets include: Atlanta; Central Pennsylvania; Charlotte, NC; Cincinnati, OH; Cleveland, OH; Columbus, OH; Detroit; Fresno, CA; Houston; Inland Empire, CA; Jacksonville, FL; King County, WA; Los Angeles; Louisville, KY; New York CityWinning organizations in New York City will receive $20,000 for the first-place finisher and $10,000 for the second-place finisher.; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh, Santa Clara, CA; South Florida; and Tacoma, WA.

All organizations participating in this year's Voices of Health competition were selected in April, during a public nomination period.

"We at Aetna have an amazing opportunity, and responsibility, to improve the health and well-being of our communities by focusing on how we address social determinants of health," said Floyd Green, vice president of Aetna's Community Affairs. "While Voices of Health is a competition, the program aims to help establish community-based networks for the organizations to leverage each other's services, allowing for more access to those who need them."

Campaigning for Votes

The Aetna "Voices of Health" website will feature a one-minute video from each organization describing how the prize money would help it further its mission. Organizations will be able to advocate for votes in different ways, including sharing their videos through social media and other communication channels.

To learn more about the organizations competing in Voices of Health or to vote, visit http://www.aetnavoicesofhealth.com/

The Voices of Health program is aligned with "Destination: Health," a series of CVS Health business programs with an enhanced focus on helping people improve their health outside of a clinical setting.

About Aetna

Aetna, a CVS Health company, 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. @AetnaNews

Aetna Media Contact:

Anjie Coplin
214-200-8056
Coplina@aetna.com

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Aetna Foundation and U.S. News & World Report host Social Determinants of Health Roundtable in Harrisburg, PA

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Aetna Foundation and U.S. News & World Report host Social Determinants of Health Roundtable in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Aetna Foundation and U.S. News & World Report host Social Determinants of Health Roundtable in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Following the release of the second annual U.S. News & World Report 2019 Healthiest Communities rankings, the Aetna Foundation convened a roundtable in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with state officials, community organizations and local providers to promote a dialogue about addressing social determinants of health to improve the health of communities across the Keystone state.

Aetna Foundation and U.S. News & World Report host Social Determinants of Health Roundtable in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller joined the event as the keynote speaker.

“A person’s health is more than just what happens inside of a doctor’s office. Their job, education level, access to food, and their housing situation all affect their health,” said Secretary Miller. “Our goal is to empower Pennsylvanians to live fulfilling lives and build stronger communities. Understanding the whole person and the individual circumstances they face is critical as we work to ensure that services provided are putting the people we serve on a path to improved long-term outcomes like better health, success in employment or education and training, or self-sufficiency.”

The Healthiest Communities rankings, underwritten by the Aetna Foundation, are part of a $100 million commitment by CVS Health and its affiliates to making community health and wellness central to the company’s charge for a better world. The new Building Healthier Communities initiative, which will be funded over five years by CVS Health and the CVS Health and Aetna foundations, builds upon the outstanding tradition of community investment by CVS Health and Aetna and advances CVS Health’s purpose of helping people on their path to better health.

The roundtable event specifically highlighted food access and nutrition, which is a critical issue facing both urban and rural residents, across the state of Pennsylvania.

Around 115 people attended the roundtable, which, in addition to Secretary Miller, featured U.S. News & World Report Editor and Chief Content Editor Brian Kelly; U.S. News & World Report Executive Editor Tim Smart; U.S. News & World Report Reporter Gaby Galvin; State Rep. Joanna McClinton; The Food Trust President and CEO Yael Lehmann; Central Pennsylvania Food Bank CEO Joe Arthur; and Welsh Mountain Health Centers Chief Quality Officer Kate Millay.

“We have a significant opportunity to improve the physical and economic health of the country by changing our priorities and focusing on how we address social determinants of health,” said Patti MacRae, Executive Director, Aetna Foundation. “Thank you to everyone who took the time and joined us for this important conversation. We are building healthier communities, one community at a time, and these types of dialogues are truly critical to our work.”

The roundtable is part of a multi-year Healthiest Communities collaboration between U.S. News & World Report and the Aetna Foundation. In addition to being the state capital, Harrisburg is the county seat of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, which did not rank is this year’s Healthiest Communities rankings. However, 7 counties in Pennsylvania were part of this year’s top 500 Healthiest Communities List: Montgomery, Chester, Bucks, Cumberland, Butler, Montour, and Elk.

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From California to Connecticut, Investing in Health at the Local Level

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In Davidson, North Carolina, chronically ill community members will have increased access to essential services. In West Chester, Pennsylvania, more of the local uninsured population will be able to participate in a non-opioid pain management program.

Those city’s free health clinics, along with nearly 130 others from California to Connecticut, will be better able to meet their community’s health needs thanks to nearly $3 million in grants from CVS Health and its Foundation to the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (NAFC) and their members.

The grants furthers Aetna and CVS Health’s commitment to building healthier communities by investing in health at the local level, as these clinics will help better manage chronic disease, provide more wraparound services to address the social determinants of health, support treatment and prevention of substance abuse, including opioids and tobacco, and more.

Ranging from $10,000 – 20,000 each, the grants will be distributed to Free & Charitable Clinics in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

“Taking on these root causes of poor health will help us create lasting change towards health equity in America,” – Nicole Lamoureux, President & CEO of the NAFC.

The new funds bring the company and the CVS Health Foundation’s total contribution to NAFC to nearly $8 million since 2015.

Supporting Aetna and CVS Health’s combined goals of improving outcomes and lowering costs, more than 17,000 patients across the country had access to needed health care in 2018 as a result of last year’s NAFC grants funding. Two grantees alone saved their local hospitals $9.7 million by providing primary care to patients who would otherwise rely on the emergency room.

For more information on how the Free and Charitable Clinics will be utilizing their grants to improve community health, visit www.cvshealth.com/NAFC.

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Aetna Foundation Announces Latest Grant to Help Battle the Opioid Epidemic: Pennsylvania

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Aetna Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Harold L. Paz, M.D., M.S., speaks at the Pennsylvania announcement.
Aetna Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Harold L. Paz, M.D., M.S., speaks at the Pennsylvania announcement.

The Aetna Foundation announced the next step in its funding initiative to fight the ongoing opioid epidemic with a $1 million grant to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

The grant is part of a $6 million commitment by the Aetna Foundation to combat the epidemic in states hardest hit by the crisis by funding state and local projects with the potential to make a real difference in addressing opioid-related challenges.

In Pennsylvania, the funds will turbo-charge the state’s innovative opioid dashboard, a collaborative project between the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the University of Pittsburgh. The dashboard is a comprehensive tool that will:

  • Offer responders across the state new evidence to make key decisions to best change the trajectory of the opioid epidemic.

  • Serve as a cross-sector bridge from experts across academia, the public and private sectors, and government agencies to provide real-time contextualized data.

  • Better facilitate a collaborative response to the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania and save more lives.

The official announcement took place on Tuesday, March 27 at the Capitol Media Center in Harrisburg. The event will include Hal Paz, M.D., Aetna’s executive vice president and chief medical officer and member of the Aetna Foundation Board of Directors, Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine, M.D. and Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Deputy Secretary Ellen DiDomenico, and Donald Burke, M.D., dean of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

“Solving the opioid crisis will take a collaborative, cross-sector effort. This data dashboard will fuel the work being done in Pennsylvania by bridging the strengths of the private, public and academic sectors to save more lives,” said Dr. Paz. “At Aetna, we’re encouraged by the work of the state of Pennsylvania to build a dashboard that will help inform decision making that will not only serve as a vital tool for Pennsylvanians, but can be replicated in other states deeply impacted by this epidemic.”

For more information on the announcement, visit the Department of Health media site.

In the United States, more than 42,000 individuals die every year from overdoses. That’s 116 people per day. In Pennsylvania alone, opioids claimed more than 27 lives for every 100,000 individuals in 2017. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has declared a statewide emergency, a declaration that accelerates access to information, including allowing the Commonwealth to collect more data on overdoses, neonatal abstinence syndrome and opioid prescriptions.

The grants complement Aetna’s efforts to fight the opioid crisis through integrated pharmacy, behavioral health and medical programs.

The Pennsylvania grant follows the initial grant which benefitted the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition and its “Rural Opioid Overdose Prevention Project.”

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Guardian Angel opioids program reaching members at critical time

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Health care should be personal, and it should help us during our most vulnerable, difficult times. There are few instances when this type of support is more necessary than when people end up in the emergency room because of a problem they can’t control any more.

Unfortunately, we are seeing this scene play out more and more frequently across the country. Emergency department visits for opioid overdoses rose 30 percent in all parts of the United States from July 2016 to September 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In order to address one of the biggest public health issues of this generation, we don’t just need to do more – we need to think differently about how to solve this problem. We have to connect with people during the times that they are amost receptive to help, such as after an overdose.

Aetna recently launched the Guardian Angel program, which is intended to reach our members during this critical time. As soon as we learn that a member has had an opioid-related overdose, a specially-trained case manager – a registered nurse that used to work in an addiction unit and is a certified Mental Health First Aid instructor – reaches out to educate that person on treatment options in their area. While our nurse case manager can refer the member to a local health care provider, they can also provide access to nearby social support services. More than anything else, they can serve as a lifeline for members and their families.

The first “Guardian Angel” nurse case manager has connected with hundreds of overdose victims over the past few months. Through her outreach, we are seeing the widespread nature of this epidemic: Individuals as young as 18, up to those in their 60s, from every corner of the country. But we are also seeing people who want help. We have been able to initially engage with 40 percent of the people that we have reached out to, which is two- to three-times greater than our usual rate for telephone-based care management programs.

Much more important than the numbers, we are hearing stories of people starting on a road to recovery. Some examples:

  • A 22-year-old woman from Colorado who had two overdoses on fentanyl-laced heroin, now attending group therapy five times a week.

  • A 63-year-old woman from Ohio who has battled a painkiller addiction for more than a decade, agreeing to start treatment and connect with local health care specialists.

  • A 38-year-old man from Missouri – a single father with a nine-year-old daughter – who asked our nurse case manager about starting on Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) immediately.

While these stories are encouraging, we understand that they are just a small step, and that we need to work with all parts of the health care system to address this epidemic. With that in mind, the Aetna Foundation recently announced two grants totaling $1 million to the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association (FADAA). Conducted in collaboration with the Florida Hospital Association and the Florida College of Emergency Physicians, the effort is intended to provide individuals with opioid use disorder with access to treatment services at a time when there is the greatest opportunity to intervene and address the addiction. This follows the model we developed with grants earlier this year in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, working with state leaders and community organizations to develop local solutions.

These programs, along with other elements of Aetna’s multi-faceted approach to reduce opioid use and abuse, won’t solve the opioid epidemic on their own. But we know that they can positively impact people’s lives. And I know from personal experience how important that type of support can be. After I suffered a severe skiing accident in 2004, doctors prescribed me a number of opioid-based painkillers. While it never got to the level of addiction, I absolutely needed help to figure out a way to manage my pain without prescription medication. I was fortunate enough to meet people that helped me along my journey, and I’m forever grateful to them. My hope is that some of our members who are in these situations will eventually have the same types of feelings about the Aetna “guardian angel” that made a difference in their lives.

NoteThis article has also been posted to the U.S. News & World Report website.

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