From homelessness to health: Our commitment

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A photo of Kevin Duvall in his home.
After caring for his mother and losing his family home, Kevin Duvall faced a decade of homelessness. Today, as a resident of Sequoia Commons, he has security and a future.

Kevin Duvall was homeless. Today, thanks to CVS Health’s commitment to affordable housing, he has a home and a future.
 
After years of homelessness, food insecurity, and even drinking from gutters, 59-year-old Kevin Duvall still feels overwhelmed knowing he can cook his own food, pour a clean glass of water and eat a healthy meal in his own home.

Kevin cared for his mother for years and took a reverse mortgage on their house to make ends meet. When the bank reclaimed his home, and possessions, after her death, Kevin carried two photo albums in a backpack through a decade of homelessness.

Today, he lives at Sequoia Commons — a 66-unit affordable rental community in California’s San Joaquin Valley funded in part by CVS Health and built by Self-Help Enterprises – for residents who face challenges such as homelessness or chronic illness. “It's changed everything to have a place to live,” he says. “I was ready to give up.”

An aerial photo of the Sequoia Commons housing development neighborhood.
CVS Health contributed 20 million dollars towards the 66 low-income units at Sequoia Commons — one of many housing investments across the country. The facility includes on-site resident services such as job training and health and medical services.
A photo of Keli Savage, Sr. Director Investment Strategy, and Chet Uma, CEO Aetna Better Health of CA., visiting Sequoia Commons for the grand opening February 14, 2020.
Keli Savage, Sr. Director Investment Strategy, and Chet Uma, CEO Aetna Better Health of CA., visit Sequoia Commons for the grand opening February 14, 2020.

Investing beyond the pharmacy

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 60% of a person’s life expectancy is influenced by everyday activities that take place outside the doctor’s office. These social determinants of health include access to affordable housing, reliable transportation, quality schools and health care.

“Among other things, research shows that a safe, secure home has a positive impact on behavioral health, childhood asthma and birth outcomes.” says Dr. Garth Graham, Vice President of Community Health and Impact at CVS Health. Social determinants of health, he says, can vary not just by zip code, but by destinations as specific as a neighborhood block or bus stop.

CVS Health is committed to reaching beyond its retail pharmacy counters to build healthy communities. “In 2019 we invested $67 million in affordable housing to create over 2,200 affordable homes in six states, including California,” explains Keli Savage, head of Impact Investment Strategy. “In 2020, we have committed an additional $75 million in investments.”

CVS Health is also collaborating with Self-Help and community partners to provide on-site resident services including English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, job training and on-site health and medical services like flu shots, screenings and health clinics.

Kevin understands better than most the inextricable link between affordable housing and the opportunity to live a healthier life. He says his new home enables him to be stable, self-sufficient and to care for his own health challenges as he ages. “I have a place to put my photo albums now,” he says, with pride.

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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Making communities stronger by volunteering time, talent and resources

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Just one example of how we’re making communities stronger by encouraging employees to volunteer their time, talent and resources to local organizations.
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Working part-time, Maria Martinez does her best to support her two kids, but sometimes it’s not enough to make ends meet. After falling behind on her gas bill, she needed help.

That’s when she attended a “Keep the Power On” utility clinic and connected with a group of CVS Health lawyers working pro bono to help Hartford residents struggling to pay their utility bills — just one example of how we’re making communities stronger by encouraging employees to volunteer their time, talent and resources to local organizations.

“Being a lawyer, you are an advocate, so instead of advocating for the company, I'm now advocating for an individual,” says Jen Corvo, CVS Health counsel. “Pro bono programs like this are great because we are meeting people at something that really does affect their daily life.”

Watch the video to see how we’re reaching out and helping community members like Maria.

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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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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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.

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Developing Bilingual Pharmacists to Break Down Barriers

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A Hispanic pharmacist fills a prescription.

Ashley Mendez’s family fled Cuba in the wake of Fidel Castro’s rise to power and settled in Miami, rebuilding their life from scratch — with little money, few possessions and no ability to speak English.

Watching her family, Ashley understood from a young age how difficult even the simplest tasks could be when you didn’t speak the same language as everyone else. That was particularly true for health care: Ashley and her family believe her grandmother’s death may have been caused in part by miscommunication over the painkiller she was taking for a pinched nerve.

So when it came time to choose a career, Ashley knew exactly what she wanted to do — and where she wanted to do it. She wanted to be a pharmacist and she wanted to work somewhere she could help people who didn’t speak English.

It was the way she could honor her grandmother.

“She was one of the most influential people in my life,” says Ashley. “If we had known more about what was going on, we could have helped her.”

There are many different barriers that prevent people from getting the health care they need: They may live in an area without the right providers, they may lack the transportation to travel to the right facility, they may not have enough money to afford the right treatment.

But one critical barrier that frequently gets overlooked is the language barrier.

According to the U.S. Census Department, the number of residents who speak Spanish at home has skyrocketed 130 percent since 1990, up to about 40 million. That increase has created an overwhelming demand for bilingual pharmacists — but the supply has not kept pace. While Hispanics comprise 18 percent of the nation’s population, they account for less than 5 percent of the pharmacist workforce.

Ashley, 27, is part of CVS Health’s effort to close the gap. She spent the summer of 2017 in an immersive internship program that seeks to help develop bilingual pharmacists. Interns spend 10 weeks shadowing pharmacists who are fluent in Spanish and participating in the care of Spanish-speaking patients. They learn medical terminology, study diseases prevalent in the Hispanic community, and become familiar with the over-the-counter products most popular among Hispanic customers.

The program is an illustration of the company’s belief that you can’t build healthy communities unless you have a workforce that reflects those communities.

“People are looking for a pharmacist they feel comfortable talking to,” says Alex Acuna, 26, another intern in the program, who attended the University of Texas at Austin.

Alex grew up in an El Paso neighborhood that was 80 percent Latino, and in a household where his mother regularly spoke Spanish. But although he could speak a fair amount of Spanish himself, communicating technical details to his Spanish-speaking customers was difficult. Nuances were being lost in translation. In normal conversation, those nuances could be insignificant. When talking about treatments and medication, they could be critical.

Alex knew he had to learn “pharmacy Spanish,” as he described it.

“When was first starting, my Spanish was a little broken,” he says.  “Saying something a certain way could mean something different to a patient.”

The internship program is one of several efforts from CVS Health to address the language gap. Last year, CVS Health gave the Roseman University College of Pharmacy $25,000 to fund Hispanic recruitment and outreach initiatives and establish a pipeline of Spanish-speaking students.

Alex, who earned his license in May, is working now back in his hometown of El Paso. He says he’s grateful to be able to give back to the community that raised him.

Ashley, who attended Florida State University as an undergraduate and studied pharmacy at Mercer University in Atlanta, says she’d love to go back to Miami, where she grew up and where she served her internship.

But she also knows that in Florida, she’ll be one among many Spanish speakers — and that she might do more for the Latino community by staying where she is now.

“There’s a need for Spanish speakers in Atlanta,” she says. “You can tell that the language barrier is a big issue.”

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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Rewriting Their Stories: Collaborative Treatment for Trafficking Victims

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Utilizing the resources of our combined companies, our commitment to improving health community by community includes everything from free neighborhood health clinics to the difficult, personal issues of treating addiction.

In Arizona, it involves going into communities dealing with the growing epidemic of human trafficking through a public-private effort that involves Mercy Care, a Medicaid managed care organization managed by Aetna, as well as the Phoenix Police Department and other social services programs.

In the video above, learn how a holistic, first-of-its-kind treatment program, the Maricopa County Child Sex Trafficking Collaborative, is working with multiple health care partners to get victims off the street and on a path to better health.

As Skye Steel, CEO of Street Light USA says in the video: “Children who have been trafficked can recover. It does take a lot of time, a lot of people, a lot of energy, a lot of love…but their story can be rewritten.”

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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Free Screenings, Helpful Advice and a Visit from Pro Athletes at Project Health

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A customer receives a free health screening.
This Project Health event in Atlanta was one of nearly 600 targeting underserved communities.
A customer receiving a free health screening.
More than 87 percent of patients who attend Project Health events report following-up with their primary care physician.
A CVS Pharmacy store with Project Health sign.
Nearly 600 Project Health free health screenings were held in CVS store locations across the country.

Jean Peterson dropped by the City Line Avenue CVS Pharmacy in West Philadelphia to pick up pictures she’d dropped off at the photo department. Moments later, she also came away with a better picture of her own health — and the chance to snap a selfie with two local heroes: former Villanova basketball star Donte DiVincenzo and state Rep. Morgan Cephas.

Peterson had happened upon one of the many free screenings that CVS Health is offering across the country. During the next four months, nearly 600 Project Health events will take place in multicultural communities with a large number of uninsured or underinsured Americans. At each event, 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, hypertension, and heart disease.

Since its founding in 2006, Project Health’s free health and wellness screenings have delivered more than $127 million in free health care services to nearly 1.7 million Americans.

One of those Americans was Peterson. The 70-year-old retired nurse learned that her blood sugar was a bit high, most likely due to medications she was given after a recent back surgery. “I always take advantage of things like this,” she said. “It doesn’t hurt and it keeps me in touch with what I need to take care of.”

Know Your Numbers

Sometimes, the people who think they need the testing the least are the ones who benefit the most.

Brenda, a screener technician at the Project Health event in the Kendall neighborhood of Miami, said a lot of very fit people come in to be screened, usually because they want to know their BMI. But other tests are just as important. One of her patients was diagnosed with high blood pressure.

“The guy said, ‘I’m very fit, I go to the gym and stuff like that, I train people, too,’” said Brenda, who is applying to medical school. But they tested him three more times – once manually – and the results were the same. “And the doctor was like, ‘Hey, you need to go to your doctor and follow up. Please.’ We were very shocked. He looked extremely healthy, very muscular.”

Speaking Their Language

Many of our Miami stores sit in Hispanic neighborhoods, emphasizing the importance of having bilingual screeners, says Elena Ferrales, a health screening manager for Project Health.

Cristina, a young mother, wheeled her seven-month-old into the Miami store and signed up to have a screening while her baby slept in the stroller. She had diabetes while she was pregnant, and though her levels have gone down, she tries to check them regularly. After her screening, she sat with the doctor and, conversing in both English and Spanish, they discussed her results and he gave her food recommendations.

Later, a similar conversation with an older man was conducted entirely in Spanish.

A Slam Dunk for Health

As much as anyone, professional athletes understand the importance of good health. They also understand that it’s not always easy for people to access the care they need to achieve it.

“If I wake up feeling something is wrong, I know there’s a handful of people ready to check me out,” says Donte DiVincenzo, a two-time NCAA basketball champ with the Villanova Wildcats, now a point guard with the Milwaukee Bucks. “But I shouldn’t get special treatment just because I’m a pro athlete. Everyone should have these resources.”

A handful of athletes were featured speakers at Project Health events. In addition to DiVincenzo, who appeared in Philadelphia, Los Angeles Clippers forward Mfiondu Kabengele spoke in Anaheim and Heat player Bam Adebayo attended the Miami event.

Kabengele says he learned during his first year with the NBA the importance of undergoing regular checkups. Small everyday steps, he says, can add up.

“When you have poor health, everything dumbs down,” he says. “When you're healthy, your motor is good. Preventive care is a reality check to make improvements.”

Being good sports, the athletes joined the customers to be screened. Adebayo – a player for the Heat – noted how easy it was to get screened inside the store.

“You don’t have the anxiety, you don’t have to have an appointment, you don’t need to be there at 8, the anxiety of waiting around, what if something is wrong with me?” he said. “You just walk in, get it, see how it goes.”

Access for All

Morgan Cephas, a track and field star at Central High School in Philadelphia and now a Pennsylvania state representative, knows the importance of health care from the perspective of both an athlete and a policymaker. As vice chair of the House Democrats’ Women’s Health Caucus, she noted that 10 percent of those in her district are uninsured or underinsured.

“Not everyone is the daughter or cousin or friend of a state representative,” she said. “They shouldn’t have to choose between managing their health and keeping a roof over their heads.”

An Immediate Impact

What happens after the screenings is up to the individual. But for one participant, the consultation had an immediate impact.

Zita James, 68, had been on her way to the nearby coffee shop when she noticed signs outside for the free screenings at the Philadelphia location. After her detour to CVS, she chose to make a positive change to her health.

“It stopped me going next door and getting two jelly doughnuts!” she laughed.

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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Convening Local Experts to Address the Social Determinants of Health

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A group of panelists discuss local health solutions.
Panelists at the CVS Health-sponsored POLITICO event discuss the benefit of local health solutions.

CVS Health recently brought together a group of health leaders in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to explore how local solutions can have a big impact on residents who are grappling with environmental factors that impact health such as housing, education, transportation and food. The event was part of the POLITICO Health Care Innovators series, which CVS Health sponsors.

Following opening remarks from Tom Moriarty, chief policy and external affairs officer, and general counsel at CVS Health, the expert panel discussed how the social determinants of health are fundamentally changing the way we think about health care delivery. Among the experts, there was consensus that we must put patients at the center of their care, utilize a combination of high-tech and high-touch solutions and realize the power of public-private partnerships.

Experts included:

  • Teresa Miller, Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services

  • Ezekiel Emanuel, MD, PhD, Chair, Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, University of Pennsylvania;

  • Katherine Kinsey, PhD, Director, Philadelphia Nurse-Family Partnership; and

  • Katie McPeak, MD, Medical Director of Health Equity, Primary Care Network, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

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

Putting Patients at the Center of their Care

Each patient has their own unique health care needs. Oftentimes, those needs are determined by where they live and work. According to Dr. McPeak, “It’s not as simple as screening for social stress among families. We have to create interventions in places where they are already getting care.”

Dr. McPeak further noted that we must understand the intricacies of each patient and be embedded in their community to fully be able to address the factors that are impacting their health. This is where CVS Health can make a difference. We serve as a front door to health care in nearly 10,000 communities nationwide and are utilizing our community footprint to expand access to high-quality health care services.

High-Tech to Enable High-Touch

To maximize the impact of high-tech solutions, such as mobile apps and connected tools, the panelists agreed that they must be matched with personal touchpoints to care. According to Dr. Kinsey, “We’re all very interested in high-tech today, but it is really the relationships that we establish with patients over time that help us address the social determinants of health. We want to be high-touch and use our high-tech tools to better connect with people.”

This type of integration between technology and patient engagement is key to the model of care CVS Health is leading. We’re using technology to support our efforts to provide real-time and trusted counseling on adherence and lifestyle management, increase communication between doctor visits and improve care connectivity.

The Power of Public-Private Partnerships

Partnering with organizations that are on the front lines of addressing the social determinants of health every day is key. According to Secretary Miller, “Health care is a piece of what determines our overall health, but it is just one piece. With our managed care organizations, we’re seeing a handful of really creative partnerships addressing the social determinants of health.” In turn, these partnerships improve outcomes and impact overall health care spending.

Secretary Miller highlighted the Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA) – an organization providing medically appropriate meals and nutrition counseling to those who are battling life-threatening illnesses – as one example of success. For example, data show that members receiving services from MANNA saw a 30 percent decrease in inpatient admission. Since 2016, we have been proud to support MANNA in its mission to improve access to healthy food.

The panel agreed that housing has the greatest impact on health and well-being and we must do more to support vulnerable patient populations. Aetna Better Health of Pennsylvania 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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POLITICO Partnership Elevates Discussion on Social Determinants of Health

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Tom Moriarty, chief policy and external affairs officer, and general counsel, recently spoke to 100 health care and policy influencers at a POLITICO Live event in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, about the importance of local and personalized solutions in addressing the social determinants of health. The event was part of the Health Care Innovators series, sponsored by CVS Health, which showcases leading voices and practices in health care innovation.

Watch the full remarks here.

Understanding Community Health Care Needs

Most of our health and well-being happens outside of the doctor’s office where we live, learn and work. Furthermore, data show that 60 percent of our life expectancy is determined by factors such as housing, transportation, education and food.

Moriarty noted that these factors underscore why we must understand and analyze how local environments impact health—and the importance of data in the U.S. News & World Report Healthiest Community Rankings. In Philadelphia, nearly one in five residents smoke and more than one-fourth are grappling with obesity. According to Moriarty, our communities are ripe for health care innovation and we have an opportunity to improve health outcomes by creating meaningful touchpoints to care.

Expanding Access to Care Locally

Access remains a key challenge in helping patients manage their conditions. According to Moriarty, community health care access can be defined by two tracks: the availability of primary care and the ability to get to where care is offered.

To demonstrate how CVS Health can address these tracks, Moriarty shared an example of “Diane,” a single mother of two who recently received a diabetes diagnosis. There could be a number of obstacles in her way. First, it may be hard for her to take time off during business hours for appointments. Next, she may face difficulties in getting the testing and labs she needs for diabetes. Research shows 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 that facility.

According to Moriarty, this is where CVS Health is making a difference. Today, 71 percent of Americans live within five miles of a CVS Pharmacy location. And people come to their pharmacy frequently: whereas a patient with diabetes like “Diane” might only see her physician four to five times a year, she will likely see her pharmacist as many as 18-24 times in the same year.

Moriarty highlighted how we’re utilizing our community footprint to provide timely and targeted interactions with patients like “Diane.” For example:

  • Our MinuteClinic offering is complementary and collaborative to primary care—and helpful to the system overall. We offer treatment for 125 conditions from trusted providers. Furthermore, our extended hours and broad community reach can help address gaps in care.

  • To build on our MinuteClinic services and improve care coordination, we recently piloted HealthHUB—a new, first-of-its-kind concept offering new product categories, digital and on-demand health tools and trusted advice. This concept will be brought to the Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey market in the coming months.

Improving Health Care Affordability

Along with access to care, affordability is a top health care priority for patients. Moriarty emphasized how CVS Health is doing more to help ensure patients get the medications and care they need at the best possible cost.

For example, data show that 40 percent of patients do not pick up their prescriptions when out-of-pocket costs per prescription exceed $200. Moriarty noted that if patients are unable to afford their medications, they get sicker and their care becomes even more expensive. CVS Health has developed solutions to change that.

  • 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. More than 100,000 prescribers are using this program—leading to an average of $90 savings per prescription.

  • We’ve also pioneered digital tools, including the Rx Savings Finder, which help our retail pharmacists find patients savings when they do reach the pharmacy counter.

We look forward to continuing to address the social determinants of health in the communities we serve.

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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