The Importance of Bringing Diabetes Care into the Community

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This article was written by Dr. Dan Knecht, Vice President of Health Strategy & Innovation at CVS Health.

1.5 million: That’s the number of Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes each year. 327 billion: That was the total cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States in 2017, according to the American Diabetes Association.

These are big numbers, but they don’t tell the whole story. In addition to my day job as Vice President of Health Strategy and Innovation at CVS Health, I practice as a physician at Mount Sinai West Hospital in New York City. During my weekend rotations, I see firsthand the very real and negative impacts of uncontrolled diabetes on my patients. Diabetes can cause vision loss, kidney failure and neuropathic pain, in addition to accelerating and worsening cardiovascular disease.

Thankfully, the news is not all bad. As the number of people diagnosed with diabetes rises, so are the resources and treatment options available to them.

CVS Health recently partnered with Morning Consult to better understand the needs of people living with diabetes and the providers who deliver diabetes care. What we heard from patients and doctors is a desire to:

  • Expand access to local care
  • Better manage and predict out-of-pocket costs
  • Provide additional lifestyle support in the form of nutrition, exercise and social services

In honor of Diabetes Awareness Month, I sat down with fellow diabetes experts Dr. Steve Edelman, M.D., founder and director of Taking Control of Your Diabetes, and Joy Pape, R.N., a nationally known family nurse practitioner and certified diabetes educator, to discuss how we can address some of these needs through real action.

Watch our full CVS Health Live discussion above.

Read Dr. Knecht’s full article on LinkedIn.

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.

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Supporting Our Patients with Chronic Disease

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A doctor comforting a female patient.

As we transform the health care experience for all patients, we pay special attention to the needs of patients with chronic diseases who seek care more frequently. We continue to invest in the development of smart and robust solutions to address the health impacts and escalating costs related to chronic disease in the U.S. Our efforts include expanding preventive care and treatment for chronic conditions, improving medication adherence, coordinating care across the healthcare system, engaging patients where they are, and offering healthier product options at our stores.

Personalizing Care Solutions

Our Transform Care programs continue to deliver frequent and highly personalized care to millions of CVS Caremark members who are managing a chronic condition. The programs combine patient-related health and pharmacy data with drug cost management strategies that make care more effective, affordable and easy to navigate.

Transform Diabetes Care, introduced in 2016, has since been adopted by more than 230 CVS Caremark clients, representing 3.4 million members. The program uses advanced analytics to identify members with diabetes and target appropriate interventions. A certified coach develops and helps execute personalized management plans for Type 2 diabetes patients based on their pharmacy data and electronic health record information. The patients use at-home, connected glucometers for glucose readings, which their coach can monitor to offer help as needed. The program also ensures patients receive prescription refill reminders, in-person counseling on diabetes management, and comprehensive diabetes visits at MinuteClinic locations at no out-of-pocket cost.

By 2021, we plan to offer an enhanced diabetes program that combines CVS Health’s local and pharmacy care with Aetna’s care management, targeting, analytics and other capabilities, resulting in a best-in-class diabetes and chronic offering. The enhanced program will derive from the current Transform Diabetes Care model, making for a seamless transition and member experience for clients who wish to adopt the enhanced product. Features of the enhanced product may include:

Aetna’s care managers can provide a single point of contact for members with chronic conditions regardless of which conditions members have. The member’s care manager will also have access to the member’s information from their engagement in the Transform Diabetes Care program and can coach based off of that information.

Creating Comprehensive Programs for Complex Conditions

Another way we are reducing costs and enhancing patient care is through the development of comprehensive programming designed specifically for complex chronic conditions like kidney disease and cancer.

In 2018, we introduced a program to support patients with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), a disease that affects nearly 700,000 Americans. Taking a staged approach, our program seeks to slow the progression of ESRD and reduce associated hospitalizations. Beginning with early disease identification and patient education, the program will follow with the development of a comprehensive home dialysis program, for both hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Understanding that longer, more frequent hemodialysis treatments often lead to better outcomes, we will initiate a pivotal clinical trial of a new home hemodialysis device in support of a planned U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) submission to obtain market clearance.

We will select new program participants by determining who is most at risk for kidney disease and progression to kidney failure, as identified through medical and pharmacy claims data and predictive analytics algorithms, in accordance with HIPAA. Our Accordant Care nurses will engage these individuals to educate them on their risk level, important tests they should consider taking, and the need to see a nephrologist. This team will work with individuals as they progress toward ESRD.

We also work with our health care partners and clients to help manage the cost of oncology care while ensuring access to vital therapies for patients. Our approach promotes evidence-based cancer care, lower-cost but clinically equivalent treatment options, and a holistic patient care model that helps patients adhere to therapy. An important component of our cancer care approach is helping providers stay up-to-date with the latest research and advancements, a challenge in the fast-paced field of oncology.

In 2018, we partnered with the leading oncology organization National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) to provide physicians with a tool to access the latest evidence-supported information. Treatment Guidelines from the NCCN are integrated into Novologix, CVS Health’s proprietary technology platform, and serve as the clinical foundation of multi-drug regimen prior authorization (PA) for physicians and patients. Novologix helps drive cost-effective regimen selection by determining treatment coverage that meets treatment plan needs.

To learn about the many other ways we’re supporting our chronic disease patients, read our 2018 Corporate Social Responsibility Report.

To stay up-to-date on the latest CVS Health Social Responsibility news and content, sign up for email news alerts.

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CVS Health Named Among Most Community-Minded by Points of Light

CVS Health Named Among Most Community-Minded by Points of Light
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Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, has named CVS Health to its Civic 50 list for the third consecutive year.

The Civic 50 honors the most community-minded companies in the United States, showcasing how those companies are moving social impact, civic engagement and community to the center of their business. Honorees are public and private companies with U.S. operations and revenues of $1 billion or more, and are selected based on four dimensions of their U.S. community engagement program: investment, integration, institutionalization and impact.

Guiding our community engagement is our Corporate Social Responsibility framework, outlined in our 2018 Corporate Social Responsibility Report. This framework helps us to advance our purpose of helping people on their path to better health while ensuring that we are positively impacting the 10,000 communities we serve.

Among the many ways we’re working to make a difference in those communities is through our Building Healthier Communities initiative. A $100-million commitment funded over five years by CVS Health, with the CVS Health Foundation and the Aetna Foundation, Building Healthier Communities supports a range of programs and non-profit organizations, including the expansion of free health screenings through our Project Health program and support for partnership organizations uniquely positioned to tackle public health challenges like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

One component of Building Healthier Communities is our Be The First initiative. Launched in 2016 to help deliver the nation's first tobacco-free generation, we’ve reached more than 9 million youth with smoking prevention initiatives, awarded more than $30 million in grants to organizations focused on youth tobacco-use prevention, and helped more than 200 college campuses advocate for, adopt and implement smoke- and tobacco-free policies across the country.

Most recently, Be The First has turned its attention to supporting the expansion of effective programs to help thwart the significant rise in youth e-cigarette use, including a $10 million commitment in 2019 to support youth smoking and e-cigarette prevention strategies and education delivered in classrooms, by clinicians and in communities across the United States.

To stay up-to-date on the latest CVS Health Social Responsibility news and content, sign up for email news alerts.
 

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Our Leaders: Meeting our Commitment to Better Health

Our Leaders: Meeting our Commitment to Better Health
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As a front door to health care in 10,000 communities nationwide, CVS Health is committed to creating the path to better health and a better world. In the first half of 2019, our leaders participated in public forums to discuss how that commitment is coming to fruition to build healthier communities and improve the consumer health experience:

  1. Larry Merlo, President and Chief Executive Officer of CVS Health, addressed the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. in January to discuss the potential of improving health at the local level through targeted engagement and human interactions. During his address, Merlo announced the company’s new Building Healthier Communities initiative, a five-year, $100 million commitment to improve health at the local level. This initiative provides expanded access to free health screenings, more funding to tackle public health challenges, including tobacco and opioid use and additional investments to address social and environmental factors.
     
  2. Tom Moriarty, Chief Policy and External Affairs Officer, and General Counsel of CVS Health, participated in a POLITICO Health Care Innovators event in January to discuss how CVS Health is helping patients with chronic conditions manage their care. In the case of diabetes, Moriarty highlighted how the CVS Health and Aetna combination is uniquely able to address avoidable costs by providing patients with access to the right care locally. According to Moriarty, “We will have the ability to determine who is at risk of developing diabetes and provide them preventative counseling and services.”
     
  3. Karen Lynch, Executive Vice President of CVS Health and President of the Aetna Business Unit, authored an op-ed for U.S. News & World Report in March to discuss the importance of providing communities with the support and flexibility they need to create local solutions that have the power to affect real change and improve public health. Here she outlines the priorities of the second annual U.S. News & World Report Healthiest Communities rankings, underwritten by the Aetna Foundation. This initiative is part of our broader effort to improve community health outcomes – providing insights that inform residents, health care leaders and elected officials about policies and best practices.
     

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.

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Expanding Preventive Care through Project Health

Expanding Preventive Care through Project Health
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Our Project Health campaign connects multicultural communities with large numbers of uninsured or underinsured residents to no-cost comprehensive health assessments that detect early risks for chronic conditions. 

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

As part of Building Healthier Communities, we are expanding Project Health to reach more underserved and underinsured communities. Our goal is to reach 180 million people in 16 U.S. markets and Puerto Rico, for a projected consumer value of $8.5 million. 

So far in 2019 our progress toward that goal has included the kick-off of Project Health events statewide in California. Events are taking place throughout 2019 in Los Angeles and during select months in San Francisco, Sacramento and San Diego. Additionally, we expanded Project Health screenings across the greater Houston, Texas, area during the month of April.

The expansion is also doing more to screen for the social determinants of health, including family, education, housing and access to fresh food. Project Health participants who receive abnormal screenings are referred to treatment and advised on follow-up care. For uninsured and underinsured patients, we provide a directory of low- and no-cost primary care options. We also offer an Individual Health Access Plan with an explanation of screening results, including a comparison to target numbers, and nutrition and fitness suggestions. 

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.

For a full calendar of our Project Health events, please visit cvs.com/projecthealth.

To learn more about the ways we’re positively impacting the communities we serve, through Project Health and our other programs and initiatives, read our 2018 Corporate Social Responsibility Report.

To stay up-to-date on the latest CVS Health Social Responsibility news and content, sign up for email news alerts.

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We All Have a Role to Play in Safe Medication Disposal

We All Have a Role to Play in Safe Medication Disposal
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This article was authored by Tom Davis, R.Ph., vice president of professional services for CVS Health.

I know too well the dangers of prescription drug misuse and abuse for individuals and families. That’s one reason I am proud of the work we do every day at CVS Health to help combat opioid misuse as part of our purpose of helping people on their path to better health.

Too often medicines that were once needed go unused and are left in the home where they might be diverted and misused. In fact, medicine cabinets are a major source of diverted prescription opioids,https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30849719 which is why it is important for individuals to be aware of the safe medication disposal options available in their communities.

Supporting Medication Disposal Locally

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is a good reminder of the importance of disposing of unused and unwanted medications. In addition to select CVS Pharmacy locations serving as sites for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s take-back events across 27 states, CVS Pharmacy is helping to provide options where consumers can conveniently locate and access safe disposal locations year round.

Every day, consumers can dispose of unused or unwanted medicines at CVS Pharmacy stores and community locations across the country. We have installed safe medication disposal units to make disposal options more accessible in more than 1,000 CVS Pharmacy locations and have donated 950 additional units to community locations such as police departments.

Together, these units have collected more than 324 metric tons, or 715,000 pounds, of unused or unwanted medications that might otherwise have been diverted, misused or ended up in our water supply. That amounts to the approximate weight of a 747 jetliner. An additional 900 safe medication disposal units are planned to roll out in CVS Pharmacy stores in states across the country by the end of 2019.

Through our partnership with Google Maps, consumers can quickly search “drug drop off near me” in Google to locate permanent disposal locations in their community, such as a CVS Pharmacy or government buildings.

A Multifaceted Approach to Helping Combat Opioid Misuse

Our safe medication disposal program is just one part of our multi-pronged strategy to help prevent opioid misuse. As one of the 30,000 pharmacists at CVS Health, I am especially passionate about helping people understand the risks of prescription drug misuse. 

One example of how our pharmacists are doing just that is Pharmacists Teach. An innovative prevention education program, Pharmacists Teach connects our pharmacists to local schools to talk with students and parents about the dangers of misusing prescription drugs, using a curriculum developed with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. We have reached nearly 475,000 students and parents nationwide through the program.

In addition, our pharmacists also provide counseling to patients who are new to an opioid prescription. In line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guideline, this counseling educates patients on use, risks, storage and disposal at an important point in time, before they start on their medication.

Reducing the amount of unnecessary opioids prescribed can also help reduce the potential for misuse. To that end, CVS Health is implementing utilization strategies to help.  

  • In line with the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, we have implemented programs to help pharmacy benefit management clients reduce opioid utilization for Caremark members. To date, for clients adopting our utilization management criteria, the number of prescriptions covered for more than a 7-day supply decreased by 71.9 percent. Among those clients, the number of prescriptions covered for a 7-day supply or less is now 94.3 percent.

  • Aetna, a CVS Health business unit, is making progress in its five-year plan to help fight opioid misuse through prevention, intervention and patient support programming. In the first year of its strategy, Aetna has seen an approximately 60 percent increase in the rate of treatment with non-opioid interventions in members with chronic pain. The rate of opioid prescriptions written for seven or more days after an acute procedure decreased about 50 percent.

We’re making real progress in our efforts to help combat the misuse of prescription drugs, through our own programs and by collaborating in the community. And together, we’ll continue our work to help make a difference in building safer, healthier communities.

For more information about our efforts in the fight against opioid abuse, visit Our Commitment to Fight Opioid Abuse 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.

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Increasing Accessibility and Affordability through MinuteClinic

Increasing Accessibility and Affordability through MinuteClinic
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As the largest provider of walk-in clinics in the country, we are continuously innovating to improve the patient experience and expand MinuteClinic services. Today, more than 50 percent of the U.S. population lives within ten miles of a MinuteClinic. Offering evening and weekend hours, and with most services costing less than $100 — as much as 90 percent less than urgent-care centers and hospital emergency departments — millions of patients depend on us for accessible and affordable care.

Expanding Our Reach through Virtual Care

In 2018, we took an important step forward to reach more people with the expert care provided by MinuteClinic. In partnership with telehealth leader Teladoc, we introduced our MinuteClinic Virtual Care platform to provide patients with quality, convenient care via a mobile app or desktop computer.

The service connects patients, ages 2 years and up, to certified health care providers through video-enabled consults to address minor illnesses, injuries and skin conditions. Consults are $59, less than the average in-person doctor visit, and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Based on the initial consult, a Video Visit may lead to a subsequent in-person appointment. Unlike most telehealth providers, MinuteClinic can connect patients to a store location, seamlessly extending services within the same system.

By the end of 2018, the MinuteClinic Virtual Care program was available in 18 states and the District of Columbia. We plan to implement the program in every state where telehealth is permitted, and the services will be covered through insurance later this year.

Ensuring Care for Our Veterans

The comprehensive health care services provided by MinuteClinic positions CVS Health to make a meaningful difference in the lives of America’s 19-million veterans. To provide our nation’s heroes with the high-quality, convenient care they deserve, we have invested in a strategic partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) since 2016.

Through the CVS Health-Veterans Administration program, veterans can contact a VA-run triage help line and, when clinically appropriate, have the option to receive care at participating MinuteClinic locations. Additionally, MinuteClinic is able to make the full record of medical services provided available to the VA following the visit. These programs have served more than 3,500 veterans over the last three years.

In 2017, we set a new Corporate Social Responsibility performance target to form partnerships with five VA health care systems by 2022. In 2018, we built upon our footprint of Phoenix, Arizona, and Northern California, launching pilots in Santa Clarita, California, and Corpus Christi, Texas. We were also proud to support the enactment of the VA Mission Act, which enhances veteran access to community care through the VA.

Responding to Community Health Care Needs

We are constantly expanding MinuteClinic offerings to address the specific health care needs of all the communities we serve.

In 2018, we:

  • Increased focus on prevention and management of chronic care, including diabetic retinopathy to prevent disease progression among customers who have diabetes. We also expanded abilities for more in-clinic tests to support the management of chronic disease and medication adherence.

  • Identified 66 MinuteClinic locations near universities and colleges where we will expand services to deliver high quality care to college-aged adults, including expanded sexual and women’s health services and age-appropriate screenings and counseling services.

  • Piloted Flublok®, a new influenza vaccine that does not use eggs, antibiotics or live influenza virus, at 100 MinuteClinic locations. We administered an estimated 4,000 Flublok shots to patients.

  • Expanded our efforts to administer the mainstream flu shot to children, reaching nearly 13,000 toddlers aged 18 to 35 months.

  • Shared vaccination information with 16 state immunization registries to advance public health.

To learn more about the ways we’re positively impacting the communities we serve, through MinuteClinic and beyond, read our 2018 Corporate Social Responsibility Report.

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Our Opioid Response Strategy

Our Opioid Response Strategy
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Our expansive reach, expertise and access to local communities has uniquely positioned us to help address prescription misuse and abuse with an enterprise-wide approach. In 2018, we continued to expand our efforts through a variety of programs and initiatives, including education, safe prescription drug disposal, advocacy and collaboration with partners. 

To learn more about our efforts to address opioid misuse and abuse, read our 2018 Corporate Responsibility Report or visit Our Opioid Response.

Our Community Commitments

Through our company and the CVS Health and Aetna Foundations, we make strategic investments to support health care access in local communities, including work to mitigate and prevent prescription drug abuse.

Our community-level work in 2018 included:

  • Continued partnership between CVS Health Foundation and the National Association of Community Health Centers to provide grants to 12 additional community health centers

  • Extension of our philanthropic efforts through the Aetna Foundation, which provides state and community-based grants to address opioid abuse nationally.

  • Expansion of our Pharmacists Teach prevention education program to provide curriculum to CVS Caremark members and to reach parents in 26 new states.

Patient- and Member-Focused Prevention

Our opioid abuse prevention efforts reached patients and members in 2018 through:

  • The implementation of enhanced opioid utilization management for our CVS Caremark clients, who represent 94 million member lives.
  • Strengthened counseling for CVS Pharmacy patients filling their first opioid prescription, and new training for retail pharmacists on medication assisted treatment (MAT), so that they are able to provide the best care for patients struggling with opioid-use disorder.
  • Expansion of our safe medication disposal program, adding 750 units in CVS Pharmacy locations and continued work with The Partnership™ at Drugfree.org to make drug collection units available to law enforcement agencies.
  • Plans to expand Aetna’s 2018 pilot program, “Guardian Angel,” which provides Aetna members who recently experienced an opioid overdose with support from a clinician, specializing in substance use disorders.

Continuing Our Best-In-Class Governance and Our Public Policy Work

Overseeing our opioid-related efforts is our Board of Directors, which is committed to ensuring that we are developing solutions to prescription opioid abuse. And within our Board of Directors, our Medical Affairs Committee is taking on a broader scope of responsibilities, including matters related to opioid safety.

We are also working to make a difference in our communities by advocating for legislation that addresses opioid misuse and abuse. Across the country, we’re collaborating with community leaders, policymakers, law enforcement and health care professionals to expand opioid education, encourage safe prescription drug disposal and advocate for new policies that tackle this public health challenge. We’ve also advocated to be able to offer access to naloxone, the lifesaving opioid overdose-reversal drug, without a prescription to CVS Pharmacy patients in 48 states. 

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U.S. News & World Report: The Power of Community to Improve Health

U.S. News & World Report: The Power of Community to Improve Health
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This op-ed authored by Karen Lynch, Executive Vice President, CVS Health and President, Aetna Business Unit, was originally published by U.S. News & World Report on March 26, 2019.

When it comes to better health, the power of real change lies within our communities. Health issues, such as obesity and opioid dependency, are widespread problems that have a tremendous impact on the physical, emotional and financial health of our nation.

While certain programs are successful in reducing the prevalence of such health issues and are scaled and replicated whenever possible, we must recognize that there are going to be elements of these problems that are as diverse and unique as the communities they impact. It is therefore critical that we not only share best practices, but also provide communities with the support and flexibility they need to create local solutions that have the power to affect real change and improve public health. 

Our Commitment for Better Health

Being able to support community-driven solutions and then share them with organizations across the country is the core element of CVS Health’s new “Building Healthier Communities” initiative. As part of this effort, CVS Health and its affiliates have committed a combined $100 million over the next five years to making community health and wellness central to the company’s charge for a better world. By using the combined capabilities of both CVS Health and Aetna, as well as the philanthropic giving of the CVS Health Foundation and the Aetna Foundation, we can deliver a measurable impact on the health of communities across the United States.

The Aetna Foundation’s collaboration with U.S. News & World Report on the Healthiest Communities rankings is part of our larger strategy, providing us with data-based insight on communities across the country and helping us to see changes in community health over time. 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.

While this marks only the rankings’ second year, both CVS Health and Aetna have an outstanding and long-established history of community investment. Even though it typically takes public health programs time to make an impact, some of our most recently implemented programs are already creating long-lasting improvements in community health.

Better Health Is Powered Locally  

CVS Health and Aetna support organizations throughout the country, but two programs in different parts of North Carolina demonstrate the potential impact of engaging with local communities to provide the support they need to create unique, targeted solutions.

Mecklenburg County is the most heavily populated county in the state and includes one of its most prominent cities, Charlotte. Here, the African-American population is disproportionately impacted by cardiovascular disease compared to their white counterparts.

To combat this, Village HeartBEAT — one of the grand prizewinners of the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge — activated more than 60 local faith-based organizations to help over 20,000 local residents access health resources to reduce cardiovascular risk. As a result, VHB reduced the smoking rate in the community from 17.4 percent to 13.9 percent and obesity rates from 70 percent to 64.7 percent. Beyond the numbers, you can see and hear the passion from residents who are participating in this program and realize that they are improving the health of their community.

We've found that in rural communities in North Carolina, friends and neighbors have become the frontline defense against opioid overdose deaths. To address this issue, we are helping the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition give individuals the tools they need to recognize and respond to an overdose in order to save more lives. The results have been impressive. In 2018, coalition outreach workers distributed 6,408 naloxone kits to high-risk opioid users in five targeted rural counties, with 554 overdose reversal reports.

We believe the path to better health can be reached by creating a whole new health care model that's more local, affordable and easier to use. Strengthening our local support and community engagement is a key part of this approach. By empowering organizations and residents to implement local solutions, we have an incredible opportunity to improve the physical, emotional and economic well-being of the country, one community at a time.

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CVS Health Launches 12th Annual CSR Report and Evolved Platform, "Better Health, Better Community, Better World"

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Evolved strategy emphasizes impact on community health and wellness following its acquisition of Aetna

WOONSOCKET, R.I., April 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) today unveiled its 12th annual corporate social responsibility (CSR) report featuring its evolved platform, Better Health, Better Community, Better World. The company's new social purpose business strategy is designed to be more inclusive of the company's commitment to addressing the complexities of today's health care system and the role it plays in addressing the most pressing public health challenges of the day, nationally and in our communities.

"2018 was a historic year for our company, as CVS Health combined with Aetna, giving us an opportunity to help fundamentally transform the way health care is delivered," said Larry J. Merlo, President and Chief Executive Officer for CVS Health. "Our new socially-responsible business strategy ensures we put our capabilities and resources to work in tangible ways that make a difference in our local communities and in people's lives."

The Better Health, Better Community, Better World platform aims to deploy the assets, scale and expertise of our business to focus on three priority areas:

  • Building Healthier Communities: Making community health and wellness central to CVS Health's charge for a better world.
  • Leading and Inspiring Growth: Creating economic opportunities and value for employees, customers, suppliers and investors.
  • Protecting Our Planet: Ensuring environmental sustainability is embedded in our approach to business operations and product development.

This year's report provides an update on CVS Health's enterprise commitment to tackling opioid misuse and abuse, including increasing the number of safe medication disposal sites by adding 750 units in CVS Pharmacy locations and expanding the Pharmacists Teach Prescription for Parents program to 26 new states.

The report also includes the company's annual Communication on Progress to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). CVS Health became the first U.S. pharmacy chain to join UNGC in 2018, confirming the company's commitment to implementing the Compact's ten principles with respect to human rights, labor, the environment and anti-corruption; engaging in partnerships to advance the broader goals of the United Nations; and taking actions in support of the Sustainable Development Goals.

In an effort to reduce the effect of climate change, CVS Health set new greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets in 2018 to reduce the absolute scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 36 percent by 2030, and to commit that 70 percent of its suppliers by emissions will set science-based emissions reduction targets on their scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2023. The company also developed a new CSR performance target for its fleet to reduce 2.5 million empty miles in the next five years.

"We believe our greatest opportunities ahead will be a result of our ability to meaningfully impact the health of local communities, bringing together the power of our business and strategic community investment," said Eileen Howard Boone, Senior Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy. "I am particularly proud to present this year's progress report because 2018 marks the biggest move we have ever made as a company in advancing our social business purpose as we welcomed Aetna to our enterprise."

Other notable accomplishments in 2018 include:

Building Healthier Communities

  • Delivered $5.3M in free health care services through Project Health
  • Provided more than $4 million in grants from the company and the CVS Health Foundation to support youth smoking and e-cigarette prevention, as part of its commitment to helping deliver the first tobacco-free generation
  • Introduced MinuteClinic Virtual Care to provide quality, convenient, and affordable care via a mobile app or desktop computer
  • Committed to transparency for all beauty imagery by the end of 2020, celebrating a more authentic representation of beauty

Leading and Inspiring Growth

  • Created opportunities for nearly 85,000 new colleagues through workforce development programs and other recruiting efforts
  • Provided opportunities for 2,800+ youth to participate in myCVS Journey Pathways to Health Care Careers
  • Hired 3,200+ colleagues through our U.S. Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship program for pharmacy technicians
  • Drove a total economic impact of $5.8B and supported 38,000+ jobs through our diverse supplier program
  • Enhanced our Board of Directors to include deep insurance company oversight experience by adding four new directors from Aetna

Protecting Our Planet

  • Audited 500+ printers that produce packaging for our store brands portfolio to understand their sustainability capabilities
  • Removed oxybenzone and octinoxate from our store brand sun screens with SPF 50 and lower
  • Recognized among the top 3 percent of 5,000 companies as a CDP Supplier Engagement Leader
  • Retrofitted 1,740 retail locations with interior LED lighting, saving $7.5 million in annual energy costs

CVS Health's 2018 CSR Report was developed in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Standards, a global framework widely used by organizations to report on CSR and sustainability performance. The company completed a materiality assessment in 2017 and focused its reporting on topics that reflect its most significant economic, environmental, and social impacts, or that substantively influence the assessments and decisions of stakeholders.

The report is available online at cvshealth.com/social-responsibility.

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 more than 9,900 retail locations, approximately 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with approximately 92 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. 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. This 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:

Mary Gattuso
401-770-9811
Mary.Gattuso@CVSHealth.com

SOURCE CVS Health

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