CVS Health selected by U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, as part of a pilot, to administer recently authorized COVID-19 therapy to eligible patients in long-term care facilities and at home

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As part of Operation Warp Speed, Coram, the infusion care business of CVS Health, will provide timely patient access to new monoclonal antibody therapies for the treatment of COVID-19 

Underscores role of CVS Health as a diversified health services company and expands work underway with HHS and Operation Warp Speed as CVS Health also prepares to administer COVID-19 vaccines

Woonsocket, R.I. — CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) was selected today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as part of Operation Warp Speed, to pilot the administration of a limited supply of bamlanivimab, a monoclonal antibody therapy, with eligible COVID-19 patients at-risk of severe infection or complications resulting from the virus. Under this pilot, Coram, the specialty pharmacy and infusion care business of CVS Health, will administer the intravenous therapy in patients’ homes or long-term care facilities to help meet the growing demand for these new treatments. Coram and its more than 800 certified and highly trained nurses across the country are a prime example of how CVS Health offers diversified health services to transform health and meet people where they are – whether in normal times or during the ongoing pandemic.  

As COVID-19 rates surge in many parts of the country, Coram also has worked to help keep patients out of inpatient and hospital settings altogether, alleviating pressure on the health care system and preserving important hospital resources for the most critical patients. Since early in the pandemic, Coram has partnered with hospitals to safely transition eligible infusion patients home to help ensure hospital bed capacity to treat COVID-19 patients. Importantly, today’s announcement also expands the integral role of CVS Health on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19. This includes work underway with HHS and Operation Warp Speed to administer COVID-19 vaccines when available, as well as a national COVID-19 testing infrastructure, which has enabled the company to perform more than eight million tests across more than 4,300 retail testing locations and onsite at workplaces and campuses around the country since the start of the pandemic. 

“These newly available, important COVID-19 treatments can make a difference for patients at high risk for severe illness or complications, but they need to be administered intravenously by health care providers and with the appropriate clinical expertise and oversight,” said Sree Chaguturu, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, CVS Caremark and Senior Vice President, CVS Health. “Our Coram model allows us to meet patients where they are during the pandemic by delivering safe, clinically appropriate home-based care, and we stand ready to deploy our teams when and where the need is greatest as supply of these new monoclonal antibody treatments ramp up over the coming year.” 

Coram will begin administering 1,000 doses of monoclonal antibody therapies for the treatment of COVID-19 in seven cities and their surrounding communities starting Thursday, December 3, including Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Tampa, as new COVID-19 infections continue to rise rapidly in these regions. Following the pilot, and as drug supply increases, Coram will scale this solution to additional markets in areas of greatest need.

To be eligible for bamlanivimab through Coram, and in accordance with the therapy’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, patients must not be hospitalized, be within 10 days of symptom onset, at least 12 years of age or older, weighing at least 40 kilograms (or 88.2 pounds), and at high risk for progressing to severe disease and/or hospitalization. 

Patients can be referred to Coram for treatment from a hospital, urgent care or telemedicine appointment, long-term care facility or their primary care physician following a positive diagnosis. There is no out-of-pocket cost to the patient for this care. 

“Patients can rest assured they are receiving the best care possible through Coram in the safety and comfort of their own home or long-term care facility, and Coram is poised to continue to meet shifting health care demands as the importance and value of home-based care will undoubtedly outlive the pandemic,” added Prem Shah, Pharm.D., Executive Vice President of CVS Specialty and Product Innovation. “This established and experienced clinical service further demonstrates CVS Health’s unique ability to touch all aspects of a person’s health to make their experience more accessible and affordable.”

More information on steps CVS Health has taken to address the COVID-19 pandemic is available at the company's frequently updated COVID-19 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.

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Healthy Conversations, Episode 4: Diabetes

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Welcome to Healthy Conversations, an open discussion among healthcare professionals about the latest innovations, what we’re learning on the front lines of the healthcare industry, and how it’s changing in real-time. So much of our attention has been focused on the pandemic, but chronic illness continues to compound the effects of COVID-19.

In this episode, we’ll focus on one of America’s most widespread chronic diseases: diabetes. November is American Diabetes Month, and we spoke with the CEO of the American Diabetes Association, Tracey Brown, about her own experience and how her organization is working to transform diabetes care. You can hear Tracey’s extended interview in the podcast episode below.

We also connected with Dr. Kenneth Snow about innovative technologies like CGM (continuous glucose monitors), early detection, and the fine line between giving patients more autonomy and the risk of overwhelming them. Lastly, we’ll hear from Rebecca Rice, pharmacist and educator, about the evolving role she plays in the life of chronic care patients via the unique HealthHub model.

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Tune in to Healthy Conversations wherever you listen to all your favorite podcasts.

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CVS Pharmacy locations to administer COVID-19 vaccinations when authorized and available

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Today it was announced that CVS Health will join others in offering Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-authorized COVID-19 vaccinations when available to the general public.

“CVS Health is prepared to play a prominent role in administering COVID-19 vaccinations to the general public, which builds on our previously announced agreement to administer vaccines in long-term care facilities,” said Troyen Brennan, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, CVS Health. “Our extensive experience safely and efficiently providing vaccinations is unmatched, and this year alone we’ll provide flu vaccines to nearly 20 million Americans across the country.

“With approximately 70 percent of the U.S. population living within three miles of a CVS Pharmacy, we’ll be easy to reach when a vaccine is authorized by the FDA and becomes available in retail settings. Our pharmacists, nurse practitioners and pharmacy technicians have been an invaluable community resource since the pandemic began and are ready to play a critical role in the vaccination effort.”

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Heart At Work: Kimberly Sawyer McWright – serving country and community

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Photo of Kimberly Sawyer McWright seated at home and smiling at the camera.
“You can focus on the negative, but it’s better to put energy into positive solutions,” McWright says.

As a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Nurse Corp, Kimberly Sawyer McWright, Sr. Quality and Coding Educator for Aetna Medicare, knows how to mobilize community and company initiatives even in the most challenging times.

“While growing up, my goals were to get a decent education and to serve my country. Then, I would use these experiences to work in my community,” she said. 

Kimberly’s life is a testament to those goals and of upholding the Army’s value of selfless service. When her 22-year military career was cut short after fracturing her spine in a tank explosion in Iraq, she pivoted to create the next chapter of her life. “You can focus on the negative, but it’s better to put your energy into positive solutions,” she explains.

Kimberly serves as president of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Association in Chicago. There, she’s responsible for organizing neighborhood clean-ups, staffing the local food pantry, and distributing face masks in an area not far from the scene of social justice and racial equity demonstrations.

When local pharmacies and other stores temporarily closed as a result of the pandemic and protests in the area, Kimberly helped more than a dozen senior neighbors who were without food and essential prescriptions. Each day, before and after work, she drove them outside the area, sometimes more than an hour away to pharmacies and grocery stores that were open.

When the Jesse Brown Veterans Administration Hospital requested her service to support COVID-19 triage, Kimberly worked with teams to organize and install a temporary hospital.
Throughout the pandemic, her professional efforts as a quality auditor and coding educator for Aetna Medicare have been equally as vital.

“Kimberly’s role includes being a partner with physicians to help them meet medical documentation guidelines,” explains Melinda Childress, Director, Quality and Risk Adjustment. “She presents monthly webinars and has educated more than 2,400 doctors, clinicians and professional coders about the importance of Medicare documentation accuracy and coding conditions.”

Kimberly, thank you for your service to our country, your community and CVS Health.

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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San José Clinic: Serving Houston for 98 years, and going strong

San José Clinic: Serving Houston for 98 years, and going strong
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The San José Clinic has been tucked into the middle of Houston for 98 years, serving more than 4,000 uninsured patients each year, with a small staff and a dedicated crew of volunteers. They are a shining example of how to build healthy communities.

For many residents of Harris County, getting sick can be a real financial crisis yet US News & World Report ranks Harris County among the top 30 counties in Texas for population health.

COVID-19 has exposed a lot of fault lines and disparities across the country, as well as some unforeseen strengths. With help from the CVS Health Foundation, the San José Clinic was quick to adapt — turning their pharmacy into a drive-thru, launching telehealth services, and more. In addition to the people featured in the video, our podcast (below) provides in-depth interviews with Maureen Sanders, President and CEO; Pharmacy Director Adlia Eibed; and Randall Flores, who spent a year with San José Clinic for his clinical pharmacy residency.

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 team of dental professionals working on a patient, part of the outreach of the San José Clinic of Houston, Texas.
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Aetna® announces new “Putting the ‘Me’ in Medicare eBook”

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A Guide to Total Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic

November is National Family Caregivers Month. If you’re having a hard time focusing on your total health (body, mind and spirit) during the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re not alone. A recent study found that nearly half of Americans are struggling to maintain their health.https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-06/trg-csi060220.php Now more than ever, it’s important to take care of yourself.

“As the primary caregiver for my own 93-year-old parents, I know this can be very challenging,” said Christopher Ciano, president of Aetna® Medicare. “That’s why we teamed up with experts inside and outside CVS Health® to create our “Putting the ‘Me’ in Medicare eBook” for older adults and their caregivers.”

The eBook offers tips and resources on eating healthy, staying active, using technology tools and maintaining mental health, both during and after the pandemic.

“In speaking with our Medicare members, we hear these topics come up over and over,” added Ciano. “We encourage members to take advantage of the cost-share waivers Aetna extended. And, to continue getting the medical and preventive care they need during the pandemic.”

An important — and often overlooked — piece of advice for caregivers is to remember to take time for yourself, too. While caregiving is rewarding, it can also take a toll on your physical and emotional well-being. This is especially true during COVID-19, as we all continue to deal with additional stressors the pandemic has placed on our everyday lives. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself and finding time to relax, eat healthy and exercise regularly.

Also, keep in mind you don’t have to do everything by yourself — ask for help. Aetna Medicare members and their caregivers have access to Resources For Living®, which can connect caregivers to local support groups and other services. These resources can help make caregivers’ responsibilities feel more manageable.

See Evidence of Coverage for a complete description of plan benefits, exclusions, limitations and conditions of coverage. Plan features and availability may vary by service area.

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Path to Better Health Study 2020: Increasing appetite for technology-enabled care

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The use of technology across the health care continuum has been rising at a rapid rate. As a result of COVID-19, the pace of technological transformation will only quicken and greatly influence the future of care delivery.

Read the full Path to Better Health Study 2020.

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Path to Better Health Study 2020: Importance of accessibility and affordability

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Delivering accessible, high-quality care at any time is a key health care priority — and has become even more significant during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to our study, consumers agree, with 92% indicating that it was very or somewhat important that health care be convenient.

Read the full Path to Better Health Study 2020.

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CVS Health expands COVID-19 testing services with plans to add nearly 1,000 rapid-result test sites at select CVS Pharmacy locations

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Rapid-result testing enables symptomatic patients who test negative for COVID-19 to access testing and care for influenza and other seasonal illnesses at MinuteClinic

Rapid-result testing option also available through Return Ready, the company's comprehensive COVID-19 testing solution for employers and universities

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — As part of CVS Health's (NYSE: CVS) ongoing effort to increase access to COVID-19 testing and help slow the spread of the virus, the company today announced plans to expand COVID-19 testing services currently offered at select CVS Pharmacy locations to include rapid-result testing at nearly 1,000 sites by the end of the year.

Rapid-result COVID-19 diagnostic tests are available at no cost to patients who meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria.COVID-19 tests are no cost to patients with insurance or through a program for the uninsured funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services In addition, rapid-result tests may also be available as a testing option for eligible employees or students affiliated with an organization that has adopted CVS Health's Return Ready™ return-to-work COVID-19 testing solution.

To date, CVS Health has administered more than 5 million COVID-19 tests since March, and currently manages more than 4,000 drive-thru test sites at CVS Pharmacy locations in 33 states and Washington, D.C. Most results from these existing test sites are generally available within 2 to 3 days. The company is adapting some of these sites and adding new locations to be able to deliver rapid results at nearly 1,000 sites by the end of the year. Nearly 100 of these rapid-result test sites will be operational this week.

"Access to rapid-result tests enables us to help minimize community spread of COVID-19 by being able to more quickly identify active COVID-19 infection," said David Fairchild, MD, Chief Medical Officer, MinuteClinic. "In addition, we can test and treat symptomatic patients who test negative for COVID-19 for seasonal illnesses such as flu or strep and provide appropriate treatment and care."

Patients must register in advance at CVS.com to schedule an appointment. Testing is also available for patients ages 12 to 17; a parent or legal guardian must complete the online registration and must accompany minors ages 15 and younger for testing.

When arriving for testing, patients are asked to follow signage or the instructions of the staff onsite. Procedures vary by location and patients may be directed to stay in their vehicle and proceed to a designated testing structure located in the parking lot or, in very limited locations, to enter a CVS store through a doorway specifically allocated for this purpose. Patients will be provided with a test kit, given instructions, and a CVS Health team member will observe the self-swab process. Patients will be directed to wait outside the store in their vehicle for results. The process, from the collection of the swab to the delivery of the results, will generally take approximately 30 minutes.

Patients who access rapid-result testing and receive a negative COVID-19 result will have the opportunity to schedule an appointment at the on-site MinuteClinic for further assessment and to determine if a rapid-result test for flu and strep would be appropriate. The MinuteClinic provider will then be able to provide counsel on a treatment plan and prescribe medications if clinically appropriate.

Nearly 100 of the planned rapid-result test sites will be operational at select CVS Pharmacy locations in 22 states as of this week. States include Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. Patients seeking a COVID-19 test at CVS Pharmacy can find a complete list of locations and options offered here.

More information on steps CVS Health has taken to address the COVID-19 pandemic is available at the company's frequently updated COVID-19 resource center.

For downloadable COVID-19 testing media assets, including photos and video, please visit the Media Resource Center.

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.

Media contact

Joe Goode
401-378-5220
Joseph.Goode@CVSHealth.com

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Lynn University engages CVS Health for on-site rapid result COVID-19 testing

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At Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, campus life is different this semester. Masks are required everywhere; signs are posted all around — even by the pool — discouraging close or crowded gatherings. “And you're not allowed to have anyone in your dorm room, aside from your roommate,” says Rorie Good, a second-year psychology student.

She’s been living on campus since late August and says several factors played into her decision to return in person, which included Lynn’s plan for COVID-19 testing on campus.

“I decided to come to this school for a reason,” she says. “A lot of it had to do with having the full college experience — being on campus in person. After weighing the risks and feeling like Lynn was handling it pretty well, I decided that it would be good to come back.”

A nationwide challenge

The challenges colleges and universities face this year are clear: COVID-19 outbreaks have become a public health threat on and off campuses. In September, 19 of the nation’s 25 worst outbreaks occurred in communities with large numbers of college students, USA Today reported.

Eighteen- to 25-year-olds also represent around 26% of new COVID-19 infections — more than any other group — according to Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.https://www.cnn.com/webview/politics/live-news/fauci-senate-hearing-09-23-20/h_d81e99c6d98ad5e568f7658a17f8547d And while young people are less likely to become seriously ill than older people, they can still spread the virus, he says.

“The main challenge … is balancing safety and health with the expectations of students to still have an academic experience that reflects what college life is all about.” 

– Christian Boniforti, Chief Strategy and Technology Officer, Lynn University

At Lynn University, Chief Strategy and Technology Officer Christian Boniforti spent the spring and summer weighing all of these issues with the needs of his university community in mind.

“The main challenge that I think is unique to colleges and universities is balancing safety and health with the expectations of students' desires to still have an academic experience that reflects what college life is all about,” he says. “Making sure that we had testing was critical, and that's where CVS Health came in with a critical component for us.”

Public health experts say that when a communicable disease outbreak occurs, testing is key. Early identification of cases, quick treatment and immediate isolation are what prevent spread.

Lynn University makes a plan

Lynn University’s leadership team, including Boniforti, took a community approach to the challenge, talking to many stakeholders and drafting a reopening plan that included having fewer students on campus, scheduling classes to accommodate social distancing, limiting use of common spaces and creating new sanitation protocols. The university also asks all students and employees to perform a daily COVID-19 self-check.

The plan also includes an on-campus rapid testing program for those who report COVID-19 exposure or symptoms.

“We have a great student health center here on our campus, but they're not experts in conducting COVID-19 testing,” Boniforti says. “We quickly realized that we needed a professional partner who knew how to conduct the testing and make sure that it's regulated and that proper communication to the Department of Health is done.”

So Lynn signed on with Return Ready™, a fully-configurable, scalable COVID-19 testing solution provided by CVS Health for college campuses and businesses.

It allows Lynn students and employees to schedule a test anytime, at no cost, and get results in minutes. “If a person tests positive on campus, we notify individuals who may have been exposed,” Boniforti says.

The Return Ready program also allows Lynn to do surveillance testing when there are positive cases — a particular residence hall, classroom, or sport, for instance. “Because the testing results are done so quickly, it allows us to make decisions earlier, which ultimately helps control outbreaks and reduce the quarantine times.”

For student Rorie Good, the continued testing has been essential to feeling safe on campus. “If you feel like you could've been exposed or you're anxious about it, you can always get the test. You can always know where you're at in terms of your health, and so that is very, very comforting,” she says. Also comforting: Seeing how seriously fellow students are taking the guidelines and wearing masks.

CVS Health’s testing initiative for colleges and businesses

The Return Ready program, designed for employers and colleges and their specific needs for safely returning to work sites or campuses, builds on CVS Health’s nationwide community-based COVID-19 testing infrastructure. The company has administered more than five million COVID-19 tests since March and has about 4,000 testing sites across the country.

With Lynn — as with every Return Ready partner — they started with a consultation, says Sree Chaguturu, M.D., chief medical officer, CVS Caremark, and senior vice president, CVS Health, to answer: Where do you want to test? Which tests do you want to use? Who do you want to test and how frequently?

The program can make use of CVS Health’s nationwide retail network for testing, bring testing on-site or use a combination. “We also work with a client to ensure that all of the reporting and analytics are provided to local and state health authorities as needed for regulatory compliance, as well as reporting back to the client so that they have timely analytics to help them understand testing trends,” Dr. Chaguturu says.

Return Ready also works with businesses, offering clinical consultation, end-to-end testing and workforce analytics to help offices.

“Return Ready has allowed us to become more proactive … to focus our efforts on continuing to provide a safe learning environment for student activities and education.”

– Christian Boniforti, Chief Strategy and Technology Officer, Lynn University

To meet the various needs of each college and business, the program prioritizes flexibility. “For example, as we worked with an airline, we recognized there is an inherent unpredictability with schedules and operations.  In order to accommodate for fluctuations, we configured the workflows, number of hours and testing machines,” Dr. Chaguturu says.

At Lynn University, Boniforti says they’ve had some positive cases — as expected — but have avoided an outbreak, thanks in large part to testing protocols. The Return Ready program immediately notifies the student health center when there is a positive case on campus so that person can begin isolating on campus or at home.

“Return Ready has allowed us to become more proactive because we don’t have to schedule the testing, conduct the testing, report on the testing and make sure that staff are there to do the testing,” Boniforti says. “Having a partner to do those things really allows us to focus our efforts on continuing to provide a safe learning environment for student activities and education.”

Start planning your return.

Let us partner with you to implement your organization’s testing strategy. Contact us today to get started.

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