Why Building Trust is Key to Delivering Crucial Care to Pharmacy Patients

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CVS Health pharmacists are often called on to employ not only clinical services, but a fair amount of detective work as well. Patients often report that their diet, exercise, and medications are all in check, but if they’re not experiencing results to match, then it’s time to dig a little deeper.

Elderly or infirm patients can pose special challenges: They can be mistrustful of medical professionals, stuck in old habits, and might not even be physically able to visit their local CVS for prescription recommendations and tests. Often, all the pharmacist has to go on is phone consultations and lab results. And yet, often that’s enough to produce life-changing results.

Pharmacist Angela Stigliano realizes that building trust with patients is a necessary part of the job. She’s a clinical pharmacist for CVS Health’s Medication Therapy Management (MTM) service, and provides care to members over the phone or via video chat.

She shared a recent success story about a patient with diabetes that demonstrates why trust is so important. The percentage of Americans 65 and older with diabetes is high, at about 25.2 percent or 12.0 million seniors (diagnosed and undiagnosed).https://www.diabetes.org/resources/statistics/statistics-about-diabetes It is a disease that can be well-controlled with diet and lifestyle changes — but they’re not always easy to make and adhere to without a helping hand.

Asking the Right Questions to Get a Diabetes Patient Back on Track

In March 2018 Stigliano began working with Vicki, a woman in her sixties who reported having a stroke that had left her with mild physical impairments. Though she had a long history with diabetes and high cholesterol, her doctors were confident that she would make a full recovery.

In their initial phone call, Vicki insisted that she followed a strict diet and was very mobile, but given the precarious state of her health, that “didn’t make sense,” says Stigliano: She was gaining weight, her A1C was unstable, and she wasn’t taking her cholesterol medication as prescribed. These factors put her at risk not only for another stroke, but heart disease as well.

Through a series of thirty-minute phone calls every few months, Stigliano fostered a friendly relationship with Vicki.

“I would use phrasing like ‘Tell me about your diet these days,’ instead of saying, ‘Have you been dieting?’ This allowed her to tell me about her diet without the feeling I was searching for a ‘correct answer,’” she says. “It can be difficult to be forthcoming with a stranger about a sensitive topic like being overweight or unable to walk and care for yourself properly.”

These days, there’s a lot of confusion about what a “healthy diet” actually means. Vicki reported trying a keto diet, and skipping meals, both unwise choices for a diabetic.

“Purposely not eating enough can be just as unhealthy as eating fast food every day. Not having enough range in your diet can also become unhealthy as well,” says Stigliano. She recommends the easy-to-follow MyPlate tactic to patients like Vicki. “You’re not telling them what to eat and what not to eat, but to focus more on portion sizes; to look at their diet and their plate a little bit differently.”

A CVS Health clinical pharmacist shares a recent diabetes patient success story that demonstrates the importance of relationship-building in her work.
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After several months, Stigliano was pleased to hear that Vicki had begun to be more honest with herself and her medical team. She compromised with her prescriber, and was put on a low-intensity statin three times a week. And, as Stigliano had gently suggested over the course of their interactions, she began a low-carb, high-protein diet, and increased her physical activity.

All of these changes started to pay off. Vicki’s A1C had been steadily improving due to her adjusting her insulin, but after taking the initiative to make lifestyle changes, she had lost approximately twenty-five pounds, reduced her A1C to consistent readings at or around 7 percent, and mentioned that her LDL cholesterol had come down by 100 points on her latest lab test. And she felt positive, healthy, and empowered.

“When we first started talking, Vicki was not in good spirits,” says Stigliano. “She was very upset about her stroke, and really down, very defeatist. But, after Vicki began to take control of her health, Stigliano says, “It sounded like I was speaking to a whole different person. She was excited to tell me about her lifestyle, the change in her as person. She ended our most recent phone call by saying, ‘I’ll talk to you soon. I need someone to stay on top of me!’”

To learn more about our enterprise-wide approach to diabetes management and care, visit our Managing Diabetes with CVS Health page.

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 the Fight Against HIV/AIDS

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This World AIDS Day, CVS Health is recognizing the progress made in the fight against HIV/AIDS and is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help further reduce the spread of the HIV virus.

Reducing transmission of HIV

Currently, there are an estimated 1.1 million people in the U.S. living with HIV, and approximately 38,000 people diagnosed annually. Scientific advances over the past few decades have changed the paradigm for the prevention and treatment of the disease. For example, an HIV diagnosis is no longer a death sentence and can now be effectively managed through maintenance medications. In addition, more recent medical breakthroughs have brought to market pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medications that can prevent at-risk populations, including those who could contract the virus through sexual contact or drug use, from ever getting HIV.

HHS estimates that more than one million people in the U.S. could benefit from taking PrEP medication, however only 100,000 actually have a prescription. That is why CVS Health is teaming up with HHS to help make PrEP medication more accessible and affordable through a new HHS program called Ready, Set, PrEP, which is a key component of the Ending the HIV Epidemic In America initiative, which aims to reduce the number of new HIV infections in the U.S. by 90 percent over the next 10 years.

How it works

The HHS Ready, Set, PrEP program provides at-risk and HIV-negative individuals who do not have prescription drug coverage access to PrEP medication at no cost.  In addition, the program is providing education and awareness materials to help individuals gain more information about PrEP and learn how to access the Ready, Set, PrEP program. Once approved, and with a valid PrEP prescription from a health care provider, individuals can fill the medication at a participating pharmacy, including CVS Pharmacy and CVS Pharmacy Specialty Services locations or by mail. CVS Health has donated prescription dispensing services to HHS as part of Ready, Set, PrEP program. Those interested can learn more about Ready, Set, PrEP and apply online at GetYourPrep.com or calling toll-free 855-447-8410.

CVS Health has donated prescription dispensing services to HHS as part of Ready, Set, PrEP program. Those interested can learn more about Ready, Set, PrEP and apply online at GetYourPrep.com.
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Our enterprise commitment

This is one more way that CVS Health is working to prevent the spread of HIV and help those living with HIV better manage the virus and prevent disease progression.

This includes an ongoing partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help Act Against AIDS, which brings mobile HIV screening and testing services to CVS Pharmacy locations throughout the country.

In addition, through the CVS Specialty HIV Care Management program, patients can receive whole-patient management and support from nurses specially trained in HIV care.Nurse support is available to CVS Caremark members whose plans including Accordant Care Management (including CareTeam Choice or CareTeam Advanced) Comprehensive, continuous care can help promote medication adherence, improve outcomes, and reduce overall health costs. Further, at several CVS Pharmacy Specialty Services locations in New York City, HIV patients can receive proactive outreach to improve adherence to and management of HIV medications. This includes face-to-face counseling and/or telephonic outreach for all new-to-therapy patients; refill reminders; and additional co-morbidity and financial support and assistance, as appropriate.

Across CVS Health, we help support the HIV/AIDS community every day. Through high-touch support, screening and care management services, we help those who are at at-risk for or living with HIV/AIDS on their path to better health.

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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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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Re-Training Providers to Achieve Proper Blood Pressure Measurement

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A photo of a woman’s hand on a blood pressure cuff.

Getting your blood pressure checked is a familiar experience at the doctor’s office, but recent research suggests that it may not always be accurate.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), nearly half of all U.S. adults have high blood pressure, which is a leading risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, and preventable death.  Accurate measurement of a patient’s blood pressure is vital to providing accurate diagnoses and quality care.https://www.ama-assn.org/system/files/2019-11/market-research-survey-bp-measurement.pdf

Given the importance of accurate blood pressure readings, clinical guidelines recommend that health care providers be periodically re-trained on proper BP measurement; however, recent market research conducted by the American Medical Association (AMA) and the AHA indicated this may not always be the case.

Based on this research, the AMA and AHA partnered with MinuteClinic, along with a leading health care organization and leading academic medical centers, to test a new e-learning module. The module, called Achieving Accuracy: BP Measurement, was designed to provide all front-line health care providers with access to consistent training on proper BP measurement and is now available for health care professionals through the AHA.

In the survey of more than two thousand health care providers, half of the physicians and physician assistants (PAs) who responded, and a third of nurse respondents, said they had not received BP measurement re-training since their initial training in school. However, there seems to be broad support among the survey respondents for BP refresher training, with three-quarters or more of the nurses, PAs, primary care providers and pharmacists surveyed noting that it should be required.

Some common BP measurement errors that can result in pushing a patient’s diagnosis from normal to elevated, include:

  • Taking a reading while a patient is sitting with their legs crossed, which can raise systolic pressure by 5 to 8 mm Hghttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17496470

  • Using the wrong cuff size, which can raise systolic pressure by approximately 10 mm Hghttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2911816

“Being able to test this new BP measurement re-training module with our providers on the front lines reinforces our long-standing commitment to advancing heart health and providing high quality care for our patients,” said David Fairchild, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, MinuteClinic. “Our providers appreciated the opportunity to be involved in this effort and we look forward to integrating this training into our clinical standards moving forward.”

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Fighting Pneumonia With a Toothbrush: New Program Is Yielding Results

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A woman smiling with a toothbrush in front of her mouth.

A first-of-its-kind CVS Health initiative to combat hospital-acquired pneumonia through better oral health is improving outcomes and receiving rave reviews from patients. To date, the Rush to Brush program has reached more than 8,000 Aetna members scheduled for one of 23 types of inpatient surgery with kits containing high-quality oral care products, education and a personalized ‘get well’ card.
The effort is designed to help reduce the incidence of hospital-acquired pneumonia, one of the most common and life-threatening infections hospitalized patients can contract.

“We want to shift the paradigm around oral health in hospitals. It’s actually more important to take care of your teeth and mouth when you go in for surgery, not less,” said Mary Lee Conicella, DMD, Chief Dental Officer for Aetna.

Dr. Conicella noted that oral care is critically important in the post-operative setting because the mouth is filled with bacteria. One study found colonization by disease-causing bacteria — especially those linked to pneumonia — in 90 percent of patients within 72 hours of being admitted to the hospital. Those bacteria don’t just stay in the mouth, however; they are often inadvertently inhaled into the lungs.https://www.aha.org/2018-03-29-what-your-hospital-doing-about-1-hospital-acquired-infectionhttps://msphere.asm.org/content/1/4/e00199-16https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4414413https://aricjournal.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.1186/s13756-016-0150-3

Brushing one’s teeth greatly reduces the population of bacteria in the mouth, according to nurse-researcher Dian Baker, Ph.D., professor at California State University, Sacramento.  “When patients brush their teeth, they’re basically taking their bacterial count from hundreds of millions down to just a few, and this greatly reduces their risk of pneumonia.”

Dr. Baker’s research inspired the Rush to Brush program, which is paying dividends in terms of clinical results, member satisfaction and reduced health care costs. To date, there has been about a 30 percent decrease in the incidence of pneumonia among members who received the Rush to Brush kit.Data based on early observations of pneumonia claims within 90 days of procedure for ~1,200 patients Additionally, estimates are that the program will yield approximately $75M in annual avoidable medical costs across Aetna’s commercial and Medicare business.

A note from a patient who took part in the Rush to Brush program.
A note from a patient who took part in the Rush to Brush program.

And members love it: Seventy percent took the kit with them to the hospital, and 95 percent have expressed positive feelings about the program and about Aetna. Members who received the kit have been effusive, saying the initiative “shows that Aetna is caring and considerate” and that “the fact that Aetna took a vested interested in my recovery meant so much.” One member noted that the kit “took the guess work out. All items were needed, all items were used — very important and useful.”

In addition to collaborating with Dr. Baker, Aetna worked with Johnson & Johnson and Colgate-Palmolive to outfit the kits with Colgate Total toothpaste, a high-quality toothbrush, Listerine Zero mouthwash and tips on good oral health.

The program illustrates unique ability of CVS Health and Aetna to use clinical and member data insights to unlock members’ health care needs, according to Daniel Knecht, M.D., Vice President of Health Strategy and Innovation for CVS Health. “Using those insights, we are then able to bring together the resources our members need on their road to recovery,” he added.

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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How a Trusted Partnership Helped One Type 2 Patient Live Healthier

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When Regina Wu first met Kenneth, she asked him about his diet and exercise — as CVS Health pharmacists routinely do with their patients. Kenneth, a 77-year-old man with diabetes and a sweet tooth who once weighed 286 pounds, said he often drank a liter of soda per day.

Regina immediately sensed a red flag.

“I know that soda is something people can become addicted to in a way,” she says. “It’s caffeinated, high in sugar, and people start to crave a soda fix. And soda is a big problem for blood sugar control.”

Research shows drinking sugary beverages like soda every day could increase a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 26 percent. For those already diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, soda consumption can hamper their efforts to keep their blood sugar at an acceptable level.

That certainly was the case with Kenneth. He took his medications diligently, but his A1C reading was 10.1 percent. A normal A1C is less than 5.7 percent, and the goal for type 2 diabetes patients is to keep their A1C levels below 7 percent. Kenneth was struggling enough with his blood sugar that his doctor increased his insulin dosages.

Losing weight and changing eating habits can be challenging if the problem seems large and insurmountable. Regina saw an opportunity to focus on a small, manageable change: reduce Kenneth’s soda intake.

It’s these kinds of interactions that CVS Health had in mind when we created our Medication Therapy Management program. The program is designed to allow CVS pharmacists to engage one-on-one with patients, identifying any barriers in their treatment, recommending lifestyle changes, and creating an ongoing dialogue to ensure that patients are taking their medication and getting the follow-up care they need.

Regina and her colleagues frequently work with type 2 diabetes patients: Approximately 1 in 10 Americans — or about 30 million people — have type 2 diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the disease typically surfaces in people over age 45, young adults, teens and children are increasingly being diagnosed.

Regina spoke every few months with Kenneth, urging him to drink even just one less can of soda. Then, in 2018, Kenneth was hospitalized with an infection, and he was hospitalized a second time about a year later. After Kenneth came home from the hospital, he cut back to two Diet Cokes a day. By May 2019, his A1C reading was 8.6 percent, much closer to his target level, and he now weighs 240 pounds. He’s on a 50-gram-carbohydrates per day diet, walks more often, his blood pressure levels have improved and his medication dosages have been reduced. He has kicked the soda habit completely, and has become an advocate among his family members to minimize soda drinking.

“I see the pharmacist as part of the care engagement team,” Regina says. “It really takes a village and the pharmacist is someone patients can talk to in between doctor visits or after hospital discharge. They get to know me, I get to know them, and it becomes a friendship, and with that trust, we talk about how to make small changes that can add up.”

To learn more about our enterprise-wide approach to diabetes management and care, visit our Managing Diabetes with CVS Health page.

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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Milken Institute Facilitates Meaningful Discussion on the Social Determinants of Health

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Research shows that your environment can be more important than your genetic code when it comes to improving your health. In fact, 60 percent of our life expectancy is determined by social and environmental factors.

To address this issue, Tom Moriarty, chief policy and external affairs officer, and general counsel at CVS Health, recently joined a panel discussion at the Milken Institute Future of Health Summit to discuss how players across the health system can implement solutions that address the personal and financial impact of the social determinants of health, including housing, food and transportation. Moriarty was joined by representatives from the American Public Health Association, BUILD Health Challenge, DC Green and Socially Determined who shared best practices and innovations to tackle the social determinants of health locally.

Health experts hold a panel discussion at the Milken Institute.
CVS Health Chief Policy and External Affairs Officer Tom Moriarty (center right) talks about the ways we’re addressing the factors that impact overall health at the Milken Institute Future of Health Summit.

Below are three key takeaways from the panel discussion.

  • A New Center of Care to Support Patient Needs: Most of our health and well-being happens outside of the doctor’s office – where we live, learn and work. The panel emphasized the importance of understanding the needs of each patient and why local innovations can help address the factors that impact overall health. According to Moriarty, this is where CVS Health can make a difference. Currently, 71 percent of patients live within a five mile radius of a CVS Pharmacy and we utilize our community footprint to expand access to high-quality health services.

  • Improving Local Access to Care is Key: Consider, for example, that 40 percent of physician-ordered lab tests aren’t completed – oftentimes as a result of facilities not having extended hours and the patient lacking access to public transportation to the facilities. According to Moriarty, our MinuteClinic offering can help fill this gap in care. Our extended hours and broad community reach increase access to care. Data shows that up to 50 percent of patients who visit a MinuteClinic don’t have a primary care provider. Furthermore, patients visit on nights and weekends – when other sites of care are closed.

  • Public-Private Partnerships Deliver Value: Panelists agreed that housing and food insecurity have the greatest impact on community health and well-being and additional support is needed for vulnerable patients. To meet these needs, the panel highlighted the value and promise of collaboration across the government, nonprofit and private sectors. Moriarty shared the example of how CVS Health is helping to improve access to safe housing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We recently contributed $4 million to the Inglis Methodist Gardens project to support the development of a four-story, 47-unit apartment building in West Philadelphia – serving a mixed population of long-term care recipients and people at risk for homelessness.

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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Coram Nurses Help Teen Bike across the Country

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A photo of a teenager at the airport with luggage.
Andrew leaving Boston for his cross-country bike trip.
A photo of a teenager with a nurse, administering an IV infusion.
Coram nurse Melissa Rupert infuses Andrew in Oklahoma City during his trip.

Coram, a CVS specialty business, provides high-quality infusion and tube-feeding care to patients where they live, work and travel. So when 17-year-old Andrew had an opportunity to go on a six-week cycling, cross-country adventure this past summer, his parents knew the Coram nursing team could help.

Andrew has Gaucher disease and receives enzyme replacement home infusions every 2 to 3 weeks. His trip would leave from Massachusetts in June and not return until early August, so he would require infusions along the route. His parents and medical team mapped out the trip and planned for infusions in Oklahoma City and Santa Monica, CA.

Coram nurses worked with Andrew’s primary care team at Boston’s Children’s Hospital to secure connections in the other states who would be willing to help. He needed an in-state physician to write the nursing orders, and a Coram nurse to meet him at a hotel for the infusion. The Coram Oklahoma City and Los Angeles branches ensured Andrew received the specialized care he needed.

Gaucher disease is a rare genetic enzyme deficiency disorder that affects 10,000 to 20,000 Americans, and can largely be controlled with enzyme replacement. Patients experience anemia, low platelet counts, severely enlarged liver and spleen, and bone disease.

Coram’s Vast Nurse Network

“The benefit of working with Coram is that we have more than 38 years of experience providing infusion services to patients,” said Julie Scaramuzzi, Nurse Manager, Infusion. “We meet patients where they are, and Coram has 73 ambulatory infusion suites across the country. Our team helps patients prepare the paperwork to bring liquids through airport security, and secure a nurse and location for the treatment,” she said. Coram has more than 2,000 clinicians who provide care to nearly 200,000 patients annually for a range of complex conditions including immune deficiencies, neurological disorders, digestive diseases and serious infections.

Andrew’s mom, Heidi, connected with Coram to pick up the medication near her home, and with the paperwork in order, boarded planes to Oklahoma and California. She met Andrew and the nurses in the hotels, and Andrew successfully received his treatments on the road. He was able to stay with his biking group for the entire trip.

Julie said “Andrew proves that patients who home-infuse are no longer home-bound. Our team works with many patients who travel for business or even just to see family for the holidays. Our network of nurses is vast and we are able to meet patients where they are, when they need their treatment.”

The Accordant Team Approach for Gaucher Patients

In addition to care from Coram clinicians and nurses, Accordant offers support for members with rare conditions, such as Gaucher disease, through targeted interventions designed to meet each patient’s unique needs.

“The specialized care team is composed of registered nurses, pharmacists, social workers, and a medical director – all backed by a medical advisory board,” Ahmed F. Hassan, Vice President and General Manager, Accordant. “These skilled practitioners set mutually agreed-upon health goals with the patient, discuss symptom management, explain proper use of medications, and even deal with resource issues such as lack of transportation to doctors’ appointments or cost of care.”

The more than 30 physicians on Accordant’s medical advisory board are available to the Accordant team to discuss complex situations and offer insights into care approaches that the nurse may use in supporting the patient. And, all of the team’s care is grounded in the latest evidence-based medicine and clinical guidelines.

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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Managing Diabetes

Our integrated, coordinated care approach

CVS Health is harnessing the power of its unmatched community connections and industry-leading data analytics to help people with diabetes better manage their day-to-day symptoms and lead healthier lives.

Our integrated approach is rooted in early detection and personalized, holistic care management, and offers our patients, customers and members an array of products and services that work seamlessly together, while improving access to care that is more local, more affordable and easier to navigate.

In Our Stores

With locations in 10,000 communities nationwide, our CVS Pharmacy stores are uniquely positioned to help patients manage their chronic conditions such as diabetes in between doctor’s visits. Our pharmacists provide one-on-one trusted counsel to patients daily, reviewing prescriptions to ensure patients are getting the most out of their medicines, while the providers in our more than 1,100 MinuteClinic locations offer screenings to monitor a patient’s vital signs and glucose levels.

We carry a wide variety of diabetes care products in our CVS Pharmacy locations to make it easier for patients to manage their condition.

MinuteClinic providers can identify conditions — including diabetes and hypertension — that a patient may not know about and develop an initial treatment plan with appropriate prescriptions and ongoing monitoring and counseling.

And with our new HealthHub® concept, a new, first-of-its-kind community-based store that offers a broader range of health services, new product categories, digital and on-demand health tools and trusted advice along with expanded capabilities in chronic disease care such as diabetes.

In addition, under our Reduced Rx prescription savings program, patients with diabetes can receive their insulin at a reduced cost at any of the more than 67,000 pharmacies in the CVS Caremark retail network, including our CVS Pharmacy locations.

CVS Pharmacy is partnering with the American Diabetes Association on their November #CountMeIn campaign to highlight the numbers that matter most when it comes to those living with, at risk for and supporting those with diabetes. More information can be found at diabetes.org/CountMeInADA.

For Our Members

We launched our Transform Diabetes Care program in 2017 to help simplify condition management and improve outcomes for members of our CVS Caremark pharmacy benefit manager.

The results so far have been significant: More than 50 percent of enrolled members with uncontrolled diabetes have moved to a controlled status by utilizing the solutions offered by the program, including personalized coaching, monitoring at MinuteClinic and CVS Pharmacy, testing supplies and a pharmacist-led clinical team that reviews blood glucose readings.

Learn more about our Transform Diabetes Care program.

Since launching, the program has expanded to identify members at risk for developing diabetes and related conditions.

Additionally, our Pharmacy Advisor program helps our members with chronic conditions like diabetes do a better job of taking their prescription medications through targeted counseling from pharmacists and monitored pharmacy claims to keep members on track with refills.

In the Community

CVS Health provides philanthropic support across the country to fund prevention efforts as well as education for those at risk for or living with diabetes. 

Through our partnership with the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (NAFC), the CVS Health Foundation has provided support to 57 clinics across the country to support expanded services to treat those with diabetes and hypertension.

We also bring free health and wellness screenings directly to local communities through our Project Health events. At these events, participants receive on-the-spot assessments of weight, blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol levels – tests that can help detect risk for chronic conditions such diabetes.

CVS Health also supports colleagues who volunteer on behalf of organizations associated with diabetes and also provides sponsorships for events. In 2019, CVS Health has provided over $120,000 to support diabetes organizations.

Find out more about the results of our Morning Consult survey on diabetes care.

Patient stories, features and related content

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By the Numbers: Improving Diabetes Care

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A man using diabetic testing equipment.

Diabetes is a costly and complex disease that burdens patients and the broader health care system. Today, more than 100 million U.S. adults are now living with diabetes or prediabetes and estimates show that medical costs for people with diabetes are twice as high as for people who don’t have diabetes.https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p0718-diabetes-report.html

In honor of American Diabetes Month, CVS Health recently partnered with Morning Consult to conduct a survey to better understand how people living with diabetes and the providers who deliver diabetes care are grappling with the disease. We also examined what tools and solutions would be most impactful in improving diabetes care.

Among both people living with diabetes and providers, there is a desire to expand access to care locally, better manage and predict out-of-pocket costs and provide additional lifestyle support.

Expanding Access to Diabetes Care

Managing diabetes can be extremely time-consuming and complicated. Oftentimes, patients must visit different sites of care, facilitate multiple annual exams and communicate with various providers across their care team. The survey revealed that both people living with diabetes and providers believe the health care system could do more to expand access to diabetes care and services. For example:

  • A majority (64 percent) of people living with diabetes are not aware of extended hours for diabetes support, while 61 percent of providers do not offer extended hours.

  • The vast majority of people living with diabetes (89 percent) and providers (98 percent) believe that being able to receive testing and exams for diabetes in a single location would be beneficial.

  • Just 18 percent of diabetes patients see their primary care provider once or more a month, while 37 percent report that they see their primary care provider every two to three months and 35 percent report that they see their provider every four to six months.

This is where CVS Health is making a difference. Today, 71 percent of Americans live within five miles of a CVS retail location. And people come to their pharmacy frequently: Whereas a patient with diabetes might only see his or her physician four to five times a year, they will likely see their pharmacist as many as 18–24 times in the same year.

Through these touchpoints to care, we are expanding access to diabetes care locally. For example, our HealthHUB model provides a new, first-of-its-kind community-based store that offer a broader range of health services, new product categories, digital and on-demand health tools and trusted advice. In these locations, people living with diabetes are able to receive the coordinated care and services they need all within our own four walls.

Addressing Diabetes Costs

Cost is top of mind for both people living with diabetes and providers — and there is uncertainty on how to predict the out-of-pocket costs associated with diabetes management. When asked about managing diabetes, nearly half (47 percent) of providers do not feel they have the resources they need to predict out-of-pocket costs for their patients’ diabetes medications. On the other hand, nearly one-third of patients (32 percent) do not feel they have the resources they need to predict their own out-of-pocket costs.

CVS Health is working to expand visibility into drug cost information across multiple points of care. Through our real-time benefits program, we’re providing tools to doctors so they can see what a medicine is going to cost, and recommend lower-cost, clinically appropriate options to the patient. We’ve also pioneered digital tools, including the Rx Savings Finder, which helps our retail pharmacists find patients savings when they do reach the pharmacy counter.

Improving Disease and Lifestyle Management

People living with diabetes and providers would benefit from enhanced lifestyle support to better manage the disease, including nutritional counseling and access to public transportation. For example:

  • People living with diabetes (58 percent) and providers (80 percent) both report they are likely to utilize nutritional counseling services to help manage their diabetes.

  • Access to public transportation is seen as a barrier among both patients and providers. For example, people living with diabetes (27 percent) and providers (29 percent) rank access to public transportation as poor in their community.

CVS Health offers programs to provide people living with diabetes with personalized support when and where they need it — whether it be in the community, in the home or in the palm of their hand.

For example, our Transform Diabetes Care includes personalized pharmacist counseling and the support of a diabetes coach to help ensure members stay adherent to their care plans. Additionally, through our Pharmacy Advisor program, our members can get one-on-one counseling from pharmacists either in-person at a CVS pharmacy location, or through our URAC-accredited call center.

To learn more about our enterprise-wide approach to diabetes management and care, visit our Managing Diabetes with CVS Health page.

To stay informed about the latest updates and innovations from CVS Health, register for content alerts and our Leaders in Care newsletter.

A man using diabetic testing equipment.
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