U.S. News and Aetna Foundation Release 2019 Healthiest Communities Rankings

U.S. News and Aetna Foundation Release 2019 Healthiest Communities Rankings
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Second annual list helps identify best practices and accelerate progress for community health across the country.

Washington, D.C. – March 26, 2019 – Douglas County, Colorado, is the healthiest community in America, according to the 2019 Healthiest Communities rankings by U.S. News & World Report, released today in collaboration with the Aetna Foundation. The second annual report and accompanying analysis are based on an evaluation of nearly 3,000 communities nationwide across 81 health-related metrics in 10 categories, from education and population health to infrastructure and environment. In addition to assessing which communities offer their citizens the greatest opportunity to live a productive, healthy life, the project serves as a tool to inform residents, health care leaders and elected officials about policies and best practices that help drive better health outcomes.

For 2019, the top five Healthiest Communities score above the national average in all 10 categories. Following Douglas County, Colorado, at No. 1, Los Alamos County, New Mexico, rose to No. 2, moving Falls Church city, Virginia, to No. 3, down from No. 1 in 2018. Loudoun County, Virginia, jumped up a spot to No. 4, with Broomfield County, Colorado, rounding out the top five.

“Through the Healthiest Communities initiative, U.S. News expands on three decades of expertise in measuring health care quality to assess how social determinants affect community health,” said Eric Gertler, executive chairman of U.S. News & World Report. “Our second-year endeavor with the Aetna Foundation combines high-quality data with the power of journalism to engage communities about where they can improve and how they can learn from each other.”

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.  

“Through our support of organizations across the country, we know that the most effective and innovative solutions to improve health are consistently developed by addressing the needs of each specific community,” said Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Health. “The Healthiest Communities rankings continue to provide the insights that are essential to identify key issues and support community organizations, leaders and residents who are tackling the unique social determinants of health that impact their respective neighborhoods.”

In addition to an overall ranking of the top 500 communities, four peer groupings were developed based on counties’ urban-rural status as tied to population density and economic status. The peer groups assure fair comparisons between communities and are categorized as: urban high-performing, urban up-and-coming, rural high-performing and rural up-and-coming.

Key Findings in the 2019 Healthiest Communities rankings:

  • For 2019, Douglas County, Colorado, is the No. 1 healthiest community in America. The Denver suburb is among the top 10 healthiest communities in the country in at least four of the 81 measures, including physical activity, educational attainment and median household income.
  • Seven communities in Colorado rank among the top 20: Douglas County (1), Broomfield County (5), Chaffee County (11), Routt County (14), San Miguel County (17), Pitkin County (19) and Boulder County (20). In those seven counties, nearly all adults exercise and only about a quarter missed their annual wellness checkup. Across all of its counties, Colorado has the highest average score in the country in the Environment category, which includes measures of natural amenities and air and water quality.
  • Iowa has the strongest presence in the Healthiest Communities rankings overall, with 62 counties landing among the top 500. Average community scores put Iowa among the top 10 states in four of the 10 broad categories assessed, including Population Health and Housing. Iowa’s top-performing community, No. 26 Bremer County, takes top scores in walkability and low toxic releases.
  • 81 counties are new to this year’s top 500 communities, including Montour County, Pennsylvania, which improved in the Population Health category. Bath County, Virginia, saw significant progress in Education and Sweetwater County, Wyoming, rose in Environment.
  • Of the 81 metrics included in the Healthiest Communities analysis, diabetes prevalence and smoking rate have the strongest correlation to life expectancy. According to Healthiest Communities calculations, Hawaii counties perform the best in the country in life expectancy, with an average of 81.15 years
  • At 8.7 percent, the average smoking rate across Utah counties is the lowest in the country. The rate is about half the national average and about 3 percentage points lower than in California, the state with the second-lowest rate.
  • Poor self-reported mental health has about the same negative link to life expectancy as diabetes, smoking and physical inactivity. The same metric also is linked to higher rates of poverty at the community level. 
  • Communities in Nebraska take 16 of the top 100 spots in the Mental Health subcategory, including Cherry County and Morrill County, which both score among the top 10 in the subcategory. The state has averaged 26 deaths due to suicide, alcohol-related disease and drug overdoses per 100,000 population; only New York state has averaged fewer “deaths of despair,” with 25 per 100,000 population.

To compile the rankings, U.S. News worked with the University of Missouri Center for Applied Research and Engagement Systems (CARES), a research institution skilled in community health assessment, and consulted with members of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics. For the 2019 rankings, three new measures were added: two under the Equity category assessing racial disparities and one under the Housing category measuring households with incomplete plumbing. Overall, the rankings are based on metrics drawn from sources such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the U.S. Census Bureau, the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Healthiest Communities rankings are the centerpiece of a platform featuring in-depth reporting and analysis on community and public health issues, as well as comprehensive data covering the full spectrum of factors that influence population health. Healthiest Communities is part of U.S. News’ expanding civic journalism portfolio, which includes the Best States and Best Countries sections that evaluate how government leaders and public policies best serve their citizens.

2019 Healthiest Communities- Top 10

*See the full rankings here

  1. Douglas County, Colorado

  2. Los Alamos County, New Mexico

  3. Falls Church city, Virginia

  4. Loudoun County, Virginia

  5. Broomfield County, Colorado

  6. Teton County, Wyoming

  7. Hamilton County, Indiana

  8. Carver County, Minnesota

  9. Delaware County, Ohio

  10. Howard County, Maryland

Peer Group Rankings – Top 5

Urban, High-Performing

  1. Douglas County, Colorado

  2. Los Alamos County, New Mexico

  3. Falls Church city, Virginia

  4. Loudoun County, Virginia

  5. Broomfield County, Colorado

Rural, High-Performing

  1. Teton County, Wyoming

  2. Chaffee County, Colorado

  3. Morgan County, Utah

  4. Routt County, Colorado

  5. Jefferson County, Montana

Urban, Up-and-Coming

  1. Houston County, Minnesota

  2. Hood River County, Oregon

  3. Bennington County, Vermont

  4. Island County, Washington

  5. Marquette County, Michigan

Rural, Up-and-Coming

  1. Wallowa County, Oregon

  2. Lincoln County, Washington

  3. Calhoun County, Iowa

  4. Iron County, Wisconsin

  5. Baylor County, Texas

Key Health Measures – Top 5

Top 5 Communities for Access to Health Care

  1. Suffolk County, MA

  2. Olmsted County, MN

  3. Montour County, PA

  4. Ohio County, WV

  5. Johnson County, IA

Top 5 Communities for Mental Health

  1. Manassas Park city, VA

  2. Cherry County, NE

  3. Tripp County, SD

  4. Honolulu County, HI

  5. Santa Clara County, CA

Top 5 Communities for Low Cancer Prevalence

  1. Ziebach County, SD

  2. Culberson County, TX

  3. Presidio County, TX

  4. Garfield County, WA

  5. Hudspeth County, TX

The 2019 Healthiest Communities rankings are accompanied by data-driven and narrative stories examining the health island of Williamson County, Tennessee; the conflict of city vs. suburban health as seen in Nassau County, New York; and more.

To view the full rankings and search county profiles, please visit: https://www.usnews.com/news/healthiest-communities.

For more information on Healthiest Communities explore Facebook and Twitter using #HealthiestCommunities.

About U.S. News & World Report

U.S. News & World Report is a digital news and information company that empowers people to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives. Focusing on Education, Health, Money, Travel, Cars and Civic, USNews.com provides consumer advice, rankings and analysis to serve people making complex decisions throughout all stages of life. More than 40 million people visit USNews.com each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

About the Aetna Foundation

The Aetna Foundation is an independent charitable and philanthropic affiliate of CVS Health (NYSE:CVS). As a national health foundation, the Aetna Foundation promotes wellness, health and access to high-quality health care for everyone. This work is enhanced by the time and commitment of Aetna employees, who volunteered 670,000 hours in 2018 alone. For more information, visit www.aetnafoundation.org.

Media Contacts:

U.S. News & World Report:
Maria Santucci
202-955-2031
msantucci@usnews.com

Aetna Foundation:
Ethan Slavin
860-273-6095
slavine@aetna.com 

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Health Care Innovators: New Players Meet Long-Established Regulations

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

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

Experts included:

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

  • Jay Desai, CEO & Co-Founder, PatientPing

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

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

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

A New Center of Care

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

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

Making Care Both High-Tech and High-Touch

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

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

Aligning Payment Models to Improve Patient Outcomes

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

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

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

The panel of experts at the POLITICO event
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CVS Health Announces New Clinical Affiliations with Leading Louisiana and Kansas Regional Health Systems

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WOONSOCKET, R.I., Jan. 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) announced today it has entered into new clinical affiliations with two leading regional health systems to enhance access to high-quality, affordable health care services for patients. The collaborating health systems include the LSU Healthcare Network in New Orleans, Louisiana and Shawnee Mission Health in Kansas. Through these clinical affiliations the patients served by these health systems will continue to have access to clinical support, medication counseling, chronic disease monitoring and wellness programs at CVS/pharmacy stores and MinuteClinic, the retail medical clinic division of CVS Health. In addition, CVS Health will provide critical prescription and visit information to the participating medical centers through the integration of secured electronic medical record (EMR) systems.

CVS/pharmacy currently has more than 7,800 retail pharmacy locations across the U.S. where CVS pharmacists provide counseling to patients to help them be adherent to their chronic disease medications. Of the total retail pharmacy locations, there are more than 900 MinuteClinic walk-in medical clinics available. MinuteClinic locations are open seven days a week, offering evening hours with no appointment necessary and most health insurance is accepted. The clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants who provide treatment for common family illnesses and administer wellness and prevention services, including health-condition monitoring for patients with chronic diseases.

"We look forward to working with these leading regional health systems to develop collaborative programs that improve patient outcomes, lower costs and help people on their path to better health," said Troyen A. Brennan, MD, Chief Medical Officer, CVS Health. "Through these clinical affiliations, we will also be integrating our electronic medical records and information systems to enable us to support patients with medication counseling and chronic disease monitoring."

The health care providers at the participating health systems will receive data on interventions conducted by CVS pharmacists to improve medication adherence for their patients. The affiliation also encourages collaboration between the health care providers and MinuteClinic providers to improve coordination of care for patients seen at MinuteClinic locations. Physicians affiliated with the participating health systems will collaborate with MinuteClinic nurse practitioners to work closely on joint clinical programs and care coordination activities. If more comprehensive care is needed, patients can follow up with their primary care provider and have access to the services at the medical center as appropriate. For those patients who do not have regular access to health care, MinuteClinic provides information to help patients in finding a primary care physician and a greater opportunity for continuity of health care services.

"Finding cost-effective ways to increase access to care continues to be important, especially in this era of health care reform, and we are pleased to work together with these health care providers to help coordinate comprehensive care for their patients," said Dr. Brennan. "Many patients rely on their local pharmacist for information and support regarding their prescription medications and these affiliations enable CVS pharmacists to help improve affiliated health care providers' patient health outcomes through better medication adherence. MinuteClinic also plays an important role by providing patients with timely, affordable and high-quality walk-in health care."

MinuteClinic, CVS/pharmacy and the participating health systems will begin to work toward integrating EMR systems to streamline communication. This integration will include the electronic sharing of messages and alerts from CVS/pharmacy to the health systems' physicians regarding potential medication non-adherence issues. In addition, MinuteClinic will electronically share medical histories and visit summaries with the patient's primary care physician when they are part of a health system affiliate and with the patient's consent. MinuteClinic will continue its standard practice of sending patient visit summaries to primary care providers who are not affiliated with one of these participating health systems via fax or mail, with patient consent.

The new clinical affiliations announced here bring the total number of health system and health care provider affiliations for CVS Health and MinuteClinic to 50 major health systems and health care providers across the country.

About CVS Health
CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) is a pharmacy innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Through our 7,800 retail pharmacies, more than 900 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with nearly 65 million plan members, and expanding specialty pharmacy services, we enable people, businesses and communities to manage health in more affordable, effective ways. This unique integrated 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 www.cvshealth.com.

Contact:
Christina Beckerman
CVS Health
(401) 770-8868
christina.beckerman@cvscaremark.com

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CVS Health Chief Medical Officer to Address National Business Group on Health on Value of Pharmacy Care in Evolving Health Care System

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WOONSOCKET, R.I., March 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., M.P.H., Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of CVS Health (NYSE: CVS), will speak before the National Business Group on Health in Washington, D.C. today. Brennan will outline ways pharmacy care can play a critical role in addressing health care cost and quality as the overall health care system faces increased stress. After making CVS/pharmacy the first national pharmacy chain to stop selling tobacco in support of the health and well-being of its patients and customers, CVS Health is moving aggressively to provide innovative new tools that can assist patients, providers and health plans improve medication adherence and ultimately improve health.

"Medication non-adherence can have a significant impact on patients' health outcomes and it costs the nation's health care system nearly $300 billion every year," Brennan said. "Sadly, one of the most significant challenges is patients often don't take their medications. They forget or they're confused, or they fail to understand why they should be taking them."

Brennan will highlight CVS Health's unique Pharmacy Advisor program designed to connect pharmacists, health care providers and health plans to deliver better care and value by stressing the importance of adherence to prescribed medications. He will also highlight innovations that are continuing to expand CVS Health's adherence program offerings, including packaging designed to help patients manage multiple medications and digital tools like texting and messaging patients about their medications.

"We can improve adherence and reduce gaps in care by connecting and integrating our interactions with patients, taking advantage of our ability to counsel patients at convenient touch points," Brennan said.

In his remarks, Brennan will also discuss how CVS Health is working to meet the needs of an evolving health care system. He will observe trends in health care costs and strategies to manage costs, Medicare and state health care budgets, employer-provided insurance and new modes of care delivery. He will examine how the post-recession climate and implementation of the Affordable Care Act are changing health care.

Brennan will also describe the critical role CVS/minuteclinic plays in the transforming health care system by providing accessible, quality, low-cost care. Through its clinics, CVS/minuteclinic can help patients with acute ailments or monitor chronic care for conditions like diabetes and hypertension, working directly with primary care doctors as part of the patient-centered medical home using electronic medical records.

"Connecting consumers into the health care system is our unique capability," Brennan has said. "Our MinuteClinics represent one way in which we can effectuate connectivity and integration in the health care system."

About CVS Health
CVS Health is a pharmacy innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Through our 7,800 retail pharmacies, 900 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with nearly 65 million plan members, and expanding specialty pharmacy services, we enable people, businesses and communities to manage health in more affordable, effective ways. This unique integrated 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 www.cvshealth.com.

Media Contacts:

Carolyn Castel
Corporate Communications
(401) 770-5717
Carolyn.Castel@CVSHealth.com

Erin Shields Britt
Corporate Communications
(401) 770-9237
EBritt@cvs.com

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SOURCE CVS Health

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CVS Health Announces New Clinical Affiliations with Four Leading Health Care Organizations

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WOONSOCKET, R.I., June 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) announced today it has entered into new clinical affiliations with Sutter Health in California, Millennium Physician Group in Florida, Bryan Health Connect in Nebraska and Mount Kisco Medical Group, PC in New York. These affiliations will help enhance access to high-quality, affordable health care services for patients. Through these clinical affiliations, CVS Health will provide prescription and visit information to the participating health care organizations by enabling communication between our secured electronic health record (EHR) systems, which will help enhance clinical care for patients served by the partnering organizations. In addition, patients will continue to have access to clinical support, medication counseling, chronic disease monitoring and wellness programs at CVS/pharmacy stores and MinuteClinic, the retail medical clinic of CVS Health.

"In this era of health care reform, we are pleased to work with these health care organizations to develop collaborative programs that enhance access to patient care, improve health outcomes and lower health care costs in the communities they serve," said Troyen A. Brennan, MD, Chief Medical Officer, CVS Health. "By allowing our electronic health records and information systems to communicate and share important information about the patients we collectively serve, we will have a more comprehensive view of our patients, which can aid in health care decision making and help ensure patients adhere to important medications for chronic diseases."

CVS/pharmacy currently has more than 7,800 retail pharmacy locations across the U.S. where CVS pharmacists provide counseling to patients to help them be adherent to their chronic disease medications. In addition, MinuteClinic also plays an important role by providing patients with timely, affordable and high-quality walk-in health care. There are nearly 1,000 MinuteClinic walk-in medical clinics available at CVS/pharmacy retail stores. MinuteClinic locations are open seven days a week, offering evening hours with no appointment necessary and most health insurance is accepted. The clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants who provide treatment for common family illnesses and administer wellness and prevention services, including health-condition monitoring for patients with chronic diseases.

Affiliates' health care providers will receive data on interventions conducted by CVS pharmacists to improve medication adherence for their patients. The affiliation also encourages collaboration between the health care providers and MinuteClinic providers to improve coordination of care for patients seen at MinuteClinic locations. Through this collaboration, the affiliate organizations and MinuteClinic practitioners will also work together on planning strategies around chronic care and wellness. If more comprehensive care is needed, patients can follow up with their primary care provider and have access to the services at the health care provider as appropriate. For those patients who do not have regular access to health care, MinuteClinic provides information to help patients in finding a primary care physician and a greater opportunity for continuity of health care services.

MinuteClinic, CVS/pharmacy and the participating health care organizations will begin to work toward streamlining and enhancing communication through their EHR systems. This will include the electronic sharing of messages and alerts from CVS/pharmacy to the health care organizations' physicians regarding medication non-adherence issues. In addition, MinuteClinic will electronically share patient visit summaries with the patient's primary care physician when they are part of an affiliate organization and with the patient's consent. MinuteClinic will continue its standard practice of sending patient visit summaries to primary care providers who are not affiliated with one of these participating health care organizations via fax or mail, with patient consent.

The new affiliations announced here bring the total number of clinical collaborations for CVS Health and MinuteClinic to nearly 60 major health systems and health care providers across the country.

About CVS Health
CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) is a pharmacy innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Through its 7,800 retail drugstores, nearly 1,000 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with more than 70 million plan members, and expanding specialty pharmacy services, the Company enables people, businesses and communities to manage health in more affordable, effective ways. This unique integrated 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 www.cvshealth.com.

Contact:
Christina Beckerman
CVS Health
(401) 770-8868
christina.beckerman@cvscaremark.com

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CVS Health Research Institute Encourages Reconsideration of Current Cholesterol Management Guidelines as New Class of High-cost Drugs Hit the Market

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WOONSOCKET, R.I., Aug. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- In a commentary published online first today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) Research Institute experts encouraged the cardiology community to review and reconsider current treatment guidelines for the management of high cholesterol.

As a new class of high-cost cholesterol lowering drugs, known as PCSK9 inhibitors, comes to market, current American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) guidelines, could complicate treatment choices and inhibit utilization management tools to manage costs.

"As PCSK9 inhibitors become available, the current cholesterol management guidelines do not provide clarity as to how these expensive new medications could fit in the treatment paradigm, potentially resulting in some scenarios where a prescriber could consider a PCSK9 inhibitor for a low-risk patient," said Dr. William H. Shrank MD, MSHS, Chief Scientific Officer at CVS Health. "There is a need for consensus around management strategies for patients with high cholesterol given that the cost differential between proven older therapies and this new class of drugs is substantial. In fact, if used broadly, PCSK9 inhibitors would likely be the most costly class of medications we've seen thus far."

In 2013, ACC/AHA guidelines abandoned the longstanding principle that physicians should treat patients to a specific cholesterol target based on their cardiovascular risk and instead recommended more aggressive management of cholesterol with high-dose, high-potency medications if a patient was at elevated risk for cardiovascular disease. The guidelines were established when statins, a highly effective, low-cost treatment option, were the primary treatment for high cholesterol and the only treatment with proven improved outcomes, so budgetary effects of the guidelines on patients and payors was limited. However, the CVS Health authors write that there is likely to be substantial enthusiasm about PCSK9s in the marketplace and caution that the current guidelines do not provide clarity on how to choose the best evidence-based therapy to achieve cost-effective clinical outcomes.

"As we work to encourage cost-effective use of these new cholesterol-lowering medications for our PBM clients, guidelines that incorporate specific LDL targets would be important to help determine where PCSK9 inhibitors best fit," added co-author Troyen A. Brennan, MD, Chief Medical Officer at CVS Health. "Given the changing market dynamics, we are encouraging an evaluation of treatment guidelines that will provide clear guidance for clinicians and will also enable effective utilization management programs to help control health care costs while achieving desired health outcomes."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved Praluent® (alirocumab), the first PCSK9 inhibitor, for treatment of high cholesterol in July 2015 and approval of a second therapy is expected soon. In the U.S., more than 73 million adults have elevated LDL-C, a major contributor to cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of death and disability. Praluent will cost more than $14,000annually per patient and will most likely be taken chronically, for the duration of a patient's life, amplifying strain on the health care system. The FDA advisory panels, which met earlier in the year, noted the lack of outcomes data for this new class of medicines and the need for more broad evaluation to assess potential adverse effects, and large-scale clinical trials are under way that will provide greater insight into the long-term clinical outcomes.

The CVS Health Research Institute is focused on contributing to the body of scientific knowledge related to pharmacy and health care through research collaborations with external academic institutions, participation in federally-funded research, analysis and sharing of CVS Health data sources and coordination of pilot programs and initiatives. CVS Health Research Institute findings support a continuous quality improvement environment, which encourages product innovation and development to benefit CVS Health patients, clients and their members.

To read the commentary in JAMA, click the following link: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?doi=10.1001/jama.2015.10017

About CVS Health

CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) is a pharmacy innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Through its 7,800 retail drugstores, nearly 1,000 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with more than 70 million plan members, and expanding specialty pharmacy services, the Company enables people, businesses and communities to manage health in more affordable, effective ways. This unique integrated 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 www.cvshealth.com.

Media Contacts:

Christine Cramer
CVS Health
(401) 770-3317
christine.cramer@cvshealth.com

Christina Beckerman
CVS Health
(401) 770-8868
christina.beckerman@cvshealth.com

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CVS Health Research Institute Analysis Shows High Patient Satisfaction with MinuteClinic Telehealth Visits

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WOONSOCKET, R.I., Aug. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- New data from the CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) Research Institute demonstrates very high levels of patient satisfaction with the quality of care delivered via telehealth at MinuteClinic retail medical clinics. Satisfaction with quality of care and other factors were measured among patients participating in a pilot program of telehealth care rolled out at MinuteClinic locations in California and Texas in 2014, and the findings were published on-line in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

"In the United States today, approximately a quarter of patients do not have a primary care provider or have incomplete access to one," said William Shrank, M.D., chief scientific officer, CVS Health. "This lack of access, combined with an increased demand for care resulting from expanded coverage under the Affordable Care Act, and the challenge of finding convenient care for patients balancing work and personal responsibilities, necessitate exploration of alternative, high quality care options such as telehealth in the MinuteClinic setting."

The study evaluated de-identified responses from more than 1,700 patients who participated in the MinuteClinic telehealth pilot. Patients had services at a CVS MinuteClinic location, provided by a remote clinician using telehealth technology. Patients were asked if they had health insurance and a primary care provider and rated their satisfaction with a number of measures associated with their telehealth visit, including quality of care and convenience. Patients were also asked to rank their experience of a telehealth visit as compared to that of a traditional visit, when the patient and a health care provider are face-to-face, in the same room. Overall, 95 percent of patients were highly satisfied with the quality of care they received, the ease with which telehealth technology was integrated into the visit, and the timeliness and convenience of their care. In addition, one-third of patients indicated that they preferred a telehealth visit to a visit with a clinician in the same room, in particular those patients without health insurance, and nearly all found telehealth to be just as good as or better than a traditional visit.

"MinuteClinic has long been focused on providing accessible, high quality, affordable health care that is complementary and supportive of the primary care provider," said Andrew Sussman, M.D., President, CVS/minuteclinic, and executive vice president/associate chief medical officer, CVS Health. "Telehealth provides us with an opportunity to offer convenient, high quality care to an extended group of patients and this data confirms that patients are highly satisfied with this new type of health care provider visit."

As a health care provider, MinuteClinic is focused on delivering high quality, accessible care for common illnesses. MinuteClinic is committed to continuity of care, fully supports the physician-led medical home and believes that MinuteClinic can play a complementary role with primary care practices in providing care to patients. MinuteClinic is affiliated with more than 60 major health systems around the country to improve collaboration, integrate medical records and collaborate on chronic disease care.

The CVS Health Research Institute is focused on contributing to the body of scientific knowledge related to pharmacy and health care through research collaborations with external academic institutions, participation in federally-funded research, analysis and sharing of CVS Health data sources and coordination of pilot programs and initiatives. CVS Health Research Institute findings support a continuous quality improvement environment, which encourages product innovation and development to benefit CVS Health patients, clients and their members.

About CVS Health

CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) is a pharmacy innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Through its 7,800 retail drugstores, nearly 1,000 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with more than 70 million plan members, and expanding specialty pharmacy services, the Company enables people, businesses and communities to manage health in more affordable, effective ways. This unique integrated 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 www.cvshealth.com.

Media Contacts

Christina Beckerman
CVS Health
(401) 770-8868
christina.beckerman@cvshealth.com

Brent Burkhardt
TBC (for MinuteClinic)
410-986-1303
bburkhardt@tbc.us

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SOURCE CVS Health

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CVS Health Announces Formulary and Therapy Strategy for PCSK9 Inhibitors

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Repatha™ will be the only PCSK9-inhibitor on the CVS/caremark commercial formularies

Provides members with access to high quality drug and helps clients better manage their specialty pharmacy spend

WOONSOCKET, RI – November 23, 2015 – CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) announced today that Repatha™ (evolocumab) from Amgen Inc. will be added as the only PCSK9 inhibitor on the CVS/caremark commercial formularies. The decision comes after a thorough evaluation of two new PCSK9 inhibitor therapies, which were approved by the FDA earlier this year.

“CVS Health is committed to providing high-quality medications for our clients and their members at the lowest possible cost. We have determined that choosing a single PCSK9 inhibitor for our commercial formularies allows us to get the best price possible for clients and preserves our commitment to deliver the best care available,” said Troyen A. Brennan, MD, MPH, executive vice president and Chief Medical Officer, CVS Health.

Per the company’s standard approach, the CVS/caremark national Pharmacy and Therapeutics (P&T) Committee carefully evaluated both of the currently available PCSK9 inhibitors and determined the drugs to be therapeutically equivalent, a decision that has been corroborated by consultation with board-certified specialists in both cardiology and endocrinology. The P&T Committee is composed of independent, external experts, including clinical pharmacists and physicians, who evaluate the clinical appropriateness of formulary changes on a regular basis.

“We believe patients should have access to the right medication, at the right time and for the right reason. We anticipate that for most members with high cholesterol, statins will remain the standard of care, given long-standing evidence that they prevent heart disease and the fact that they are extremely cost-effective,” Brennan added.

While PCSK9 inhibitors represent a clinical breakthrough for people with very high cholesterol, the CVS/caremark cholesterol management approach starts with statins, the backbone of treatment for millions of American adults who have high levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). For the small percentage of patients with high cholesterol who do not achieve their treatment goals with a statin or other alternative therapies, PCSK9 inhibitors may be necessary. CVS/caremark recommends utilization management strategies to clients to ensure appropriate patient access while helping to contain cost.

About CVS Health

CVS Health is a pharmacy innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Through its more than 7,900 retail drugstores, more than 1,000 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with more than 70 million plan members, a dedicated senior pharmacy care business serving more than one million patients per year, and expanding specialty pharmacy services, the Company enables people, businesses and communities to manage health in more affordable, effective ways. This unique integrated 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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CVS Health CEO Larry Merlo Keynotes at 2016 AHIP Institute and Expo

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WOONSOCKET, R.I., June 16, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) President and Chief Executive Officer Larry Merlo and Chief Medical Officer Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., will deliver remarks about the major public health challenges facing our country at this week's annual America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) Institute and Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada. CVS Health's executives will discuss how innovation can create new models of patient care and delivery to address rising rates of chronic diseases while lowering health care costs for both payers and patients.

"Between now and 2030, the cumulative cost of chronic illness is projected to grow to $42 trillion and, despite all efforts to encourage Americans to live healthier lifestyles, we don't seem to be gaining ground," Merlo says. "I believe the way to find solutions is to look at the problems through the eyes of your customers, and at CVS Health, we are working to do just that by collaborating with stakeholders across the health care continuum including patients, caregivers, providers and payers to provide better, more cost-effective care."

In his keynote address during the AHIP General Session on Thursday, Merlo will outline innovative patient care delivery strategies that increase health care choice, quality and access with the goal of delivering better health outcomes. Examples include the expanding role of retail health clinics, such as CVS MinuteClinic, in providing high-quality care in convenient, low-cost settings and the rapid rise in on-demand digital tools that make care and disease management easier and improve overall health care delivery. In addition, Merlo will emphasize that pharmacy care is one of the most cost-effective solutions to address rising health care costs.

"In fact, increasing medication adherence for chronic diseases such as high cholesterol, diabetes and hypertension results in significant returns of five to nine times that of the additional pharmacy spend and could drive billions in costs out of the health care system," Merlo adds.

Merlo will also talk about the essential role pharmacists play as they work closely with providers, payers and patients to drive the use of the highest-value drugs, ensure patients understand how to take them, prevent errors, support patients during care transitions and intervene when prescriptions are not filled or problems arise.

In remarks during a separate presentation at the AHIP meeting on Friday, Brennan will describe how pharmacy benefits manager CVS Caremark is working to help control the cost of medicines through innovative plan design and is evolving to keep pace with a rapidly changing marketplace. He will also examine the factors impacting drug trend, including expensive specialty medicines as well as brand drug price inflation and utilization.

"The problem today is that even though clinically effective and lower cost generic alternatives are often available, we still see high brand utilization in certain categories, such as diabetes," Brennan says. "The most effective thing we can do is to move people from higher cost branded drugs to their generic alternatives, which not only aligns with clinical practice guidelines but also reduces waste, saves money and can improve health outcomes."

About CVS Health

CVS Health is a pharmacy innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Through its more than 9,600 retail pharmacies, more than 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with nearly 80 million plan members, a dedicated senior pharmacy care business serving more than one million patients per year, and expanding specialty pharmacy services, the Company enables people, businesses and communities to manage health in more affordable and effective ways. This unique integrated 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 Contacts:

Christine Cramer
CVS Health
(401) 770-3317
christine.cramer@cvshealth.com

Christina Beckerman
CVS Health
(401) 770-8868
christina.beckerman@cvshealth.com

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SOURCE CVS Health

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New CVS Health Survey Reveals Majority of Americans Want Change to Improve the State of U.S. Health Care

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WOONSOCKET, R.I., Nov. 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Results of a new national survey from CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) released today found that over half (56 percent) of Americans say the U.S. health care system does not work well for them, while overwhelming majorities agree the system is in need of reform (73 percent) and is currently too politicized (69 percent).

The State of Health Care in the United States.

Of those Americans frustrated by the current state of U.S. health care, 65 percent say it is too expensive, and the affordability of health care, health insurance and prescription drugs top the list of Americans' most urgent concerns.

The results of the national survey of 2,201 adults, conducted online by Morning Consult on behalf of CVS Health in October 2017 and released at the Forbes Health Care Summit, also found that more Americans (41 percent) believe health care in the U.S. has generally gotten worse rather than improved over the past five years. However, when it comes to their personal experience, a plurality say their own health care has largely not changed, and a larger share of Americans say it has gotten better (28 percent) than who say it has gotten worse (23 percent).

Despite generally negative views of health care in the United States, a vast majority of insured respondents (83 percent) say they are somewhat or very satisfied with their health plans. However, nearly a third report that they did not have a choice in the health plan that was offered to them.

At the same time, respondents of the survey are hopeful about the health care system's future state, particularly for the next generation of Americans. This sentiment is particularly strong among American parents of whom 52 percent say they are optimistic their children will have better health care than they did at their age. They point to innovation as the reason, with 65 percent who say advances in health care will make lives safer and 66 percent who say advances will make lives longer.

However, the survey reveals limits to Americans' optimism as a skeptical public questions whether effective health care reform will eliminate regulatory barriers to innovation and put patients first. According to the survey, a plurality of Americans (45 percent) feel there is too much regulation in the way of innovation in health care. Furthermore, three out of five Americans say decisions made in health care put the bottom line ahead of patients, whereas only one in five say that either decisions put patients first or they are at least considered equally with the bottom line.

"While we see significant frustration in this poll with the cost and quality of healthcare, there is a sense of hope among Americans about the future," said CVS Health Chief Medical Officer Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., M.P.H. "These findings underscore a challenging set of pain points in the system which should serve as a catalyst for all players in health care patients, providers, payors and policymakers to work together to pursue the necessary reforms and innovations that improve quality and affordability and make a complex system easier to navigate for a more empowered health care consumer."

The full set of survey results is available at www.cvshealth.com/stateofhealthcare.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States between October 19-23, 2017 among 2,201 adults aged 18+ by Morning Consult on behalf of CVS Health. Results from the survey have a margin of error of 2%.

About CVS Health

CVS Health is a pharmacy innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Through its 9,700 retail locations, more than 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with nearly 90 million plan members, a dedicated senior pharmacy care business serving more than one million patients per year, expanding specialty pharmacy services, and a leading stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, the company enables people, businesses and communities to manage health in more affordable and effective ways. This unique integrated 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

Joe Goode, 401-770-9820
Joseph.Goode@CVSHealth.com

SOURCE CVS Health

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