Addressing Social Isolation Among Seniors

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With studies showing social isolation can be as damaging to your health as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, loneliness can be just as dangerous as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

That's why addressing social isolation is a major focus for Aetna’s Medicare business and care managers, who are taking a more holistic view of senior health to help get them on a path to better health.

With studies showing social isolation can be as damaging to your health as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, loneliness can be just as dangerous as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
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“The most common challenge with our senior patients, honestly, is that so many of them have no one,” says Aetna Field Case Manager Sarah Fischer, RN. “So many of them don’t have families. One lady said to me, ‘I’m the only one left.’"

Watch the video to see how case managers are introducing seniors to benefits such as the SilverSneakers fitness program, community volunteering and other opportunities for social connection.

“We get them involved, get the area office on aging involved. There are senior newspapers, things like that,” says Sarah. “We just bring these benefits to the member and say, ‘Let’s get you involved in something.’”

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 Impact of Our Investments

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Officials cut the ribbon on a mixed-income community in Georgia.
Our recent investments have included Gateway Pointe, a mixed-income community in Georgia that celebrated its ribbon-cutting (above) in the fall of 2019.

Since 1997, CVS Health and Aetna, a CVS Health company, have combined to invest more than $1 billion in affordable housing and community investments. These investments have led to the building and renovation of over 93,000 affordable rental units, positively impacting hundreds of thousands of low-income individuals, families, and seniors. The company’s efforts to address housing insecurity are a core part of Destination: Health, a series of CVS Health business programs dedicated to helping people improve their health outside of a clinical setting. CVS Health is continuing to make significant investments in affordable housing across the country.

With a continued focus on addressing housing insecurity in underserved and at-risk populations, CVS Health is looking forward to further cultivating invaluable relationships with community organizations and combining its strategic investments in housing with services to address the specific needs of individuals and communities across the country.

To learn more about the impact of our investments, read our press release and the local coverage below highlighting the ways we’re making a positive impact in communities nationwide.

Officials cut the ribbon on a mixed-income community in Georgia.
Our recent investments have included Gateway Pointe, a mixed-income community in Georgia that celebrated its ribbon-cutting (above) in the fall of 2019.
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Making a Difference in the Lives of CVS Pharmacy Customers

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For CVS Pharmacy Training Store Manager Pablo Heredia, putting his store colleagues and customers first is a natural extension of the commitment he has for his family.

“I tell my team, ‘Most of our patients are people that you don’t know what they’re dealing with, you don’t know the pain they have,’” Heredia explains.

That empathetic perspective helped Heredia earn a 2019 Paragon Award, which recognizes the best-of-the-best among CVS Health colleagues who deliver direct care to patients and customers. Now in its 29th year, the Paragon Awards honor colleagues who embody the core values of CVS Health.

Whether it’s making sure every pharmacy patient knows about the Rx Savings Finder, or training to become a pharmacy technician, Heredia is dedicated to making sure that every customer gets the best care possible when they walk into his San Diego, California, store, and inspires his team to do the same.

Watch above to learn more about what motivates Heredia daily to make a difference in the lives of his store customers.

A photo of Pablo Heredia.
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What You Need to Know about the New Coronavirus Outbreak

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The current international coronavirus outbreak is a rapidly evolving situation. CVS Health continues to monitor the situation and review guidance from trusted sources of clinical information such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). For the latest information, please visit the CDC and/or WHO websites dedicated to this issue.

Learn how CVS Health is Responding to Coronavirus Outbreak.

As the international outbreak of the new coronavirus named COVID-19 continues to evolve, CVS Health is closely monitoring the situation and is in regular contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). Below is information about the virus, including tips for staying healthy. For more information, please visit the CDC or WHO websites dedicated to this issue.

What is this new coronavirus?

The CDC and WHO are actively monitoring the outbreak of a new coronavirus named COVID-19, which causes respiratory illness. The virus, which has infected thousands of people worldwide and caused deaths, originated in Wuhan City, China. Additional cases have now been reported in the United States. Visit the CDC Traveler’s Health website for travel notices and precautions.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death. People with heart and lung disease or weakened immune systems, as well as infants and older adults, are at higher risk for lower respiratory tract illness.

How is COVID-19 spread?

Human coronaviruses are usually spread from an infected person to others through the air by coughing and sneezing and through close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.

Protecting yourself and others from the virus:

Although there are currently no vaccines available to protect against human coronavirus infection, you may be able to reduce your risk of infection by washing your hands often, avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands; and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

For information about hand washing, see the CDC’s Clean Hands Save Lives website.

What should you do if you suspect you or someone else has contracted COVID-19?

Most people with common human coronavirus illness will recover on their own. Although there are no specific treatments for illnesses caused by human coronaviruses, you can take the following actions to relieve symptoms if you are mildly sick:

  • Take pain and fever medications. Ask your pharmacist how they may interact with any medications you currently take. Caution: The CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend not giving aspirin to children.
  • Use a room humidifier or take a hot shower to help ease a sore throat and cough.
  • Drink plenty of liquids.
  • Stay home and rest.

If you are concerned about your symptoms, please see your local health care provider.

Where can you obtain more information?

You can find more information on the new coronavirus at these links:

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Addressing Out-of-Pocket Costs for Diabetes Patients

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Rising costs are a burden for too many people living with diabetes today. Patients with a high-deductible health plan shoulder all of their medication costs while in the deductible phase of their insurance, which means they may be forced to make difficult decisions about whether they can afford their medications and fill their prescription.

Recent data reveal there is uncertainty on how to manage and predict the out-of-pocket costs associated with diabetes management. For example, nearly one-third of patients (32 percent) do not feel they have the resources needed to manage their own out-of-pocket costs. To address this challenge, CVS Health is working to eliminate member cost as a barrier to medication adherence.

Improving Medication Affordability and Adherence

Improving diabetes outcomes while reducing costs is a priority for CVS Health. We recently launched RxZERO to enable employers and health plan sponsors to leverage formulary and plan design approaches to offer all categories of diabetes medications at zero dollar out of pocket for their members without raising costs for the plan sponsor or increasing premiums or deductibles for all plan members. The new plan design enables plan sponsors to eliminate member out of-pocket costs for the entire diabetes therapeutic area — including oral medications for Type 2 diabetes — and fully adhere to American Diabetes Association standards.

“Traditionally, the focus of affordability for diabetes medications has been on insulin, which is the cornerstone of therapy for the five percent of people with diabetes who are living with type 1 diabetes. However, the new CVS Caremark solution expands affordable options to include the entire range of diabetes medications — improving affordability for the 95 percent of people with diabetes who are living with type 2 diabetes.”

— Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., M.P.H., is Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of CVS Health

CVS Caremark analysis shows that members taking branded diabetes medications spend on average, $467.24 out-of-pocket per year, with nearly 12 percent spending over $1,000 annually.

A Comprehensive Approach to Diabetes Management

A person living with diabetes is required to take many tasks to manage their therapy annually. To make disease management affordable, accessible and local, CVS Health offers numerous programs to help people with diabetes effectively manage their condition and stay on track with their prescribed treatment plan.

We provide supportive care at our HealthHUB locations to complement the care that patients receive from their primary care physicians. Our HealthHUB model provides a 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. In these locations, people living with diabetes are able to receive the coordinated care and services they need all within our own four walls.

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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Building Lifelong Connections for Children in Foster Care

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Groups of child welfare professionals work as teams.
Groups of Kansas Department for Children and Families' child welfare professionals and other child welfare professionals from agencies across the state work as teams at the Family Finding Boot Camp. Credit: Evert Nelson/The Topeka Capital-Journal
Kevin Campbell addresses about 100 social workers during an event.
Kevin Campbell, founder of the Center for Family Finding and Youth Connectedness, trains about 100 Kansas social workers during the Family Finding Boot Camp. Credit: Evert Nelson/The Topeka Capital-Journal

For many of us, the concept of finding family members often involves searching on a genealogy site or signing up for an at-home DNA testing kit. There is an element of fun and intrigue, inspiring individuals to better understand their family roots. For many young children and teens in foster care, however, locating family members isn’t a pastime, but a necessity for daily living. These connections will help them grow and thrive.

Recently, more than 100 child welfare professionals in Kansas participated in the Family Finding Boot Camp, led by child and family welfare expert Kevin Campbell. Aetna Better Health of Kansas, the Kansas Department of Children and Families (DCF), and Casey Family Programs sponsored the four-day event. As the founder of the Family Finding model, Campbell spoke about key methods and strategies to locate and engage relatives of children currently living in out-of-home care. The goal of Family Finding is to connect each child with a family or a “network” (blood relative or not), so that every child may benefit from the lifelong connections that a family would typically provide.

Healing Children and Families

Over the years of developing Family Finding, Campbell found that most foster children have a large extended family, and if they could connect with five to eight adults who would make a “permanent relational commitment” to the child, it could change outcomes significantly.

“The training is really about how do you heal children who have had such harm done to them? And how do you heal the whole family? Because this kind of generational experience has to stop somewhere.” — Kevin Campbell
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“The training is really about how do you heal children who have had such harm done to them? And how do you heal the whole family? Because this kind of generational experience has to stop somewhere,” said Campbell.

Kellie Hans Reid, foster care coordinator with Aetna Better Health of Kansas, affirmed, “Research shows that traumatic experiences affect children’s health, like metabolic and cardiac health. We also know that we build our lifelong health in childhood. Yet, if we start early enough, there is so much we can do to alleviate the effects of childhood trauma, prevent reoccurrences, and hopefully improve long-term health and disease outcomes.”

Expanding Safety Networks

During the boot camp, Campbell empowered attendees with information on how each of them can help extend the overall safety networks of the children they work with — meaning family, friends or acquaintances that genuinely care about the child and who can serve as a relational resource. Campbell also discussed how to facilitate a community of unconditional love and healing to combat and lower the toxic stress and loneliness these children and their families are experiencing — improving mental and physical health outcomes.

Organized into 27 teams, social welfare professionals collaborated throughout the week to apply the Family Finding model to their current cases. Based on a series of criteria, they prioritized the children who were their biggest worry. By the end of the training, participants reported locating an average of 19 contacts per child, for a total of 500 contacts across all teams combined — this was an increase of 84 percent from the beginning of the week. This number broke the American record for the average number of relatives identified in a Family Finding Boot Camp, which typically averages 14 connections per child.

Key Takeaways

Attendees expressed how the boot camp training had an immediate impact on their practice with families and their individual outlook. Sample words used to describe experiences included: hopeful, moved, excited, inspired, connected, empowered, optimistic, transformative, motivated, challenged, refreshed, and appreciative, among others.

Looking to the Future

“This work has huge implications for connection, healing, improved health outcomes and combating loneliness in Kansas and beyond, potentially reducing the reliance on foster homes and congregate care,” said Josh Boynton, a member of the Medicaid Growth team focused on complex populations strategy. 

David Livingston, CEO of Aetna Better Health of Kansas, added, “This week’s Family Finding training represented preliminary efforts to empower local communities to take action and create meaningful changes in the lives of young individuals. As we look ahead to 2020 planning efforts, our goal is to continue investing both significant time and resources to improve the health and wellbeing of children and their families throughout Kansas.”

About Aetna Better Health of Kansas

Aetna Better Health of Kansas believes that members should have the opportunity to be leaders in their care. Aetna Better Health uses a model of care management that empowers members to decide what their health goals are, and then the plan works with them, their families, providers and caregivers to help them achieve their goals. The payoff to our members comes in the form of increased quality of care and quality of life. Aetna Better Health services individuals who qualify for KanCare in the State of Kansas.

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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Using Data to Drive Value to Our Members

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From opioid misuse, gene therapy and chronic care management to end-of-life issues and hospital acquired infections, our Clinical Insights and Analytics (CIA) team is using member data and medical knowledge to make an impact on the lives of the people we serve and set them on a path to better health.

CVS Health’s Clinical Insights and Analytics (CIA) team is using member data and medical knowledge to make an impact on the lives of the people we serve and set them on a path to better health.
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“We are a clinical think tank,” says CIA team member Rebecca Smith, a senior program manager. “We have the clinicians, the project management, the operational expertise and the data analysis all in one place, all working cohesively.

“We're all working towards the same goal, which is to drive better value of care for our members.”

Watch the video above to learn more.

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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Keeping Community at the Center of Care at MinuteClinic

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With approximately 1,100 locations nationwide, MinuteClinic nurse practitioners and physician assistants work every day to provide patients with convenient, personalized care that’s close to home.

One MinuteClinic provider who takes that work to heart is Aimee Kleppin, a family nurse practitioner who works out of a CVS Pharmacy in Queen Creek, Arizona.

Highly motivated and community-minded in her work, Kleppin was awarded a 2019 CVS Health Paragon Award, which recognizes the best-of-the-best among CVS Health colleagues who deliver direct care to patients and customers. Now in its 29th year, the Paragon Awards honor colleagues who embody the core values of CVS Health.

Born in Puerto Rico to parents who are both pharmacists, Kleppin knew from the time that she was in high school that she wanted to be a nurse practitioner. In her years of working for MinuteClinic, Kleppin has developed a following of patients who trust her clinical knowledge and appreciate her caring approach.

Watch above to learn about Kleppin’s dedication to her local community, including a program on hygiene that she developed the local schools, and why she’s continuously inspired to help others through her work.

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NAFC Grant Spotlight: Broad Street Clinic

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A photo of the exterior of the Broad Street Clinic in North Carolina.

CVS Health Foundation has partnered with the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (NAFC) on a multi-year program, awarding grants to increase access to care, improve health outcomes and lower overall health-care costs across the country.

Among the 2019 NAFC grant recipients is the Broad Street Clinic, a North Carolina-based clinic that was founded in 1993 by a group of local physicians and is dedicated to providing care to the uninsured and low-income members of its Morehead City community.

The Communities Served by the Broad Street Clinic

Broad Street Clinic (BSC) serves Carteret County and the surrounding areas. Currently, BSC serves 850 patients with about 3,000 visits annually for adult primary and specialty care. The majority of BSC patients are employed by the local commercial fishing, hospitality and tourism industries.

Community-Focused Chronic Disease Care

BSC provides free medical and pharmaceutical services to uninsured and underinsured, low income people with certain chronic illnesses, including diabetes, hypertension, thyroid disease, pulmonary and cardiovascular disease, and hepatitis C. BSC also provides gynecological and limited dental and vision services.

How the CVS Health Foundation Grant is Helping

BSC has been using the CVS Health Foundation grant to provide health coaching for diabetic patients. By learning to use the clinic’s electronic health records reporting, clinic providers have been able to target patients with diabetes and then further check A1C levels and last testing dates.

Since receiving the CVS Health Foundation grant, Broad Street Clinic has held two diabetes workshops. Participants have gotten to know one another and are sharing personal tips and tricks for managing their condition.
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These patients are encouraged to attend diabetic workshops held at the clinic to learn more about the disease and how to manage it. Clinic nurses and diabetic educators work with patients to teach them about healthy lifestyle changes and to develop their individual self-care plans.

A Group Effort to Better Manage Diabetes

Since receiving the CVS Health Foundation grant, BSC has held two diabetes workshops, with plans for more in the works. At each, participants got to know one another and share personal tips and tricks for managing their condition. They also filled out self-management goal worksheets, which they placed in self-addressed envelope to be mailed a month later so that they can check their own progress.

In addition, each participant received a pair of support stockings to help with leg and foot circulation and reduce swelling, a common symptom of diabetes. One woman, a cashier, called the clinic to report that the stockings helped her to feel more comfortable while on her feet all day.

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

A photo of the exterior of the Broad Street Clinic in North Carolina.
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Celebrating Our 10-Year Partnership with Diverse Supplier WEI

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Our partnerships with small and diverse businesses are mutually beneficial: They help us ensure that our products and services evolve to meet the needs of our customers, while also providing economic opportunity to our suppliers.

In fact, in 2018, our Supplier Diversity Program contributed $5.5 billion to the U.S. economy and sustained 31,000 jobs. This success would not be possible without the partnerships we have with our suppliers like New Hampshire-based WEI.

Since partnering with CVS Health 10 years ago to provide IT consulting services and solutions, WEI has been able to increase its workforce by 80 percent, growth that Co-Founder and Vice President Leslie Rosas says has a “trickle-down effect” in allowing WEI to use more diverse suppliers in their own supply chain and to develop a more diverse workforce of their own.

On the CVS Health side, WEI has become an expansion of the IT team, filling a critical company need and ready to help whenever we need them.

Watch the video to learn more about how our two companies have worked together and contributed to each other’s growth over the past 10 years.

Visit our Supplier Diversity page to learn more about our program.

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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