It’s ‘Time for Care’

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Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, nearly 60 percent of Americans have skipped a health care appointment, according to a June survey from conducted by Morning Consult and CVS Health. To ease fears and encourage Americans to prioritize preventative health, CVS Health launched Time for Care to provide guidance on how to smartly and safely seek in-person care.

To help individuals stay safe in the months ahead, Garth Graham, M.D., MPH, vice president of Community Health and Chief Community Health Officer for CVS Health, weighs in with helpful tips for resuming in-person care.

Dr. Garth Graham, M.D., MPH, Vice President of Community Health and Chief Community Health Officer, CVS Health
Dr. Garth Graham, M.D., MPH, Vice President of Community Health and Chief Community Health Officer, CVS Health

How can Americans prepare for the pandemic’s next phase?

Certain interventions have been shown to be effective on a population level and decrease personal risk: Wash your hands, stay home if you’re sick, maintain social distance and, if you’re going out, just wear a mask. Equally important are monitoring health symptoms that are concerning and having a good relationship with a primary care provider.

We also continue to have a flu vaccine that we know reduces morbidity and mortality, so certainly getting vaccinated and reducing your risk of flu is going to be important.

What precautions would you advise for children back to school?

Given the challenges around making decisions about school, having your own family plan for these different issues and challenges is important.

Familiarize yourself with CDC guidelines for individuals and understand how adherent your school is to CDC guidelines on school re-openings. Also, pay attention to what’s happening locally: This is a local pandemic and what is occurring in one county and in one state is not necessarily the same as what’s occurring in another state.

What questions can people ask their health care providers to help them evaluate whether it’s safe to resume in-person care?

Start off by asking what kinds of safety precautions are in place for your visit. The other thing is to ask about anything that concerns you. Your doctor is there for you and being able to talk about anything that relieves your anxiety is important.

Don’t let fear be an overriding factor for your decisions. Understand the facts. Many institutions have put in place really good protocols, per the Centers of Disease Control’s guidelines, to decrease the potential transmission of COVID-19. Hearing about that directly from your health care providers can help to re-instill your faith that they care about your safety just as much as you do.

Read the full Associated Press Q&A with Dr. Graham.

Helping you prepare for your in-office visit

Talk to your doctor about your concerns. Together, you can decide whether an in-person visit makes sense for you. If so, here are some of the questions you can ask:

  • What should I expect when I arrive at the office?

  • Do I need to bring my own mask?

  • Are staff and patients required to wear masks?

  • Is your staff being tested for COVID-19?

  • How often are the waiting rooms and offices cleaned?

  • Are there separate waiting areas for symptomatic and asymptomatic patients?

  • What should I do if I have had a cough or fever in recent days, recently traveled, or been in contact with someone who has tested positive?

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CVS Health to hire hundreds of new jobs across Arizona

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Pharmacy Technician role is in high demand

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — In anticipation of the increased demand for influenza vaccinations and the likely ongoing presence of COVID-19 this fall, CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) announced today the hiring of approximately 300 new jobs throughout Arizona over the coming months.

The new roles are seasonal and for part-time and full-time licensed pharmacy technicians at CVS Pharmacy locations. The positions will be filled as soon as possible. Some seasonal employees will have the opportunity to apply for or be promoted into permanent roles with the company.

Working under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist, pharmacy technicians process prescriptions, dispense medications, provide information to customers or health professionals and perform administrative tasks. They also are vital to administering the COVID-19 test at CVS Pharmacy's 93 drive-thru testing sites across Arizona to help curb the spread of the virus and expand access to care, particularly in underserved neighborhoods.

"Additional team members typically are needed every fall flu season," said Tobin Zdarko, Region Director, CVS Pharmacy. "However, we are estimating a much greater need for pharmacy technicians this year given the anticipated rise in demand for flu shots and other immunizations, along with the continued presence of COVID-19 in the community. These jobs offer Arizona residents a rewarding career opportunity, with flexible hours, advancement potential and a supportive environment while helping people on their path to better health."

The influx of new jobs comes at a time of record-high unemployment rates across Arizona and nationwide due to the coronavirus.

"This expansion by CVS Health is an important addition to the state's health care community and will further strengthen efforts to keep Arizonans safe and healthy," said Governor Doug Ducey. "We thank CVS Health for its ongoing commitment to our state, and for investing in hundreds of jobs in Arizona."

To be hired, applicants must have obtained at least a technician in training license. This certification is valid for up to three years, by which time the trainee is required to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) exam to remain a technician.

Interested job seekers can go to cvs.jobs to apply.

Information on steps CVS Health has taken to address the COVID-19 pandemic, including support for health care providers and clinicians facing financial and administrative strain, is available at the company's frequently updated COVID-19 resource center.

About CVS Health

CVS Health employees are united around a common goal of becoming the most consumer-centric health company. We're evolving based on changing consumer needs and meeting people where they are, whether that's in the community at one of our nearly 10,000 local touchpoints, in the home, or in the palm of their hand. Our newest offerings from HealthHUB locations that are redefining what a pharmacy can be, to innovative programs that help manage chronic conditions are designed to create a higher-quality, simpler and more affordable experience. Learn more about how we're transforming health at www.cvshealth.com.

Media Contact

Monica Prinzing
831-241-8294
PrinzingM@aetna.com

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Episode 1: COVID-19 Response

Episode 1: COVID-19 Response
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Healthy Conversations highlights our innovative approach to health care and is designed to inspire and educate. Our first three episodes will showcase our leadership in the COVID-19 response and the innovative and transformative solutions we’re developing, and feature conversations between CVS Health executives and other industry experts. Each episode includes a video and podcast.

This inaugural episode – COVID-19 Response – focuses on our testing efforts and also includes a discussion of systemic racism in health care and how that is manifesting itself especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Our two hosts Dr. Daniel Kraft and Dr. Dela Taghipour engage in lively conversations with three CVS Health leaders: Chief Medical Officer for CVS Caremark Sree Chaguturu; President of MinuteClinic Sharon Vitti; and Vice President of Community Health and Chief Community Health Officer, Dr. Garth Graham, MPH. In addition, Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, shares his concerns around the need for more testing, especially as we enter the second half of the year.

About the podcast

The accompanying podcast features an in-depth discussion between Dr. Taghipour, whose research has focused on health care disparities, and Dr. Graham. Together they discuss how disparities in health care delivery among minorities have adversely affected them during the pandemic and how CVS Health is working to support these at-risk patients.

The program continues in September and October with two more episodes focused on COVID-19. Those episodes – Recovery and Reset – will take a closer look at the future of medicine and the importance of telehealth during a public health emergency and beyond, and how we are reimagining personalized care and community health.

Subscribe to the Healthy Conversations podcast

Tune in to Healthy Conversations wherever you listen to all your favorite podcasts.

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Reimagining diabetes treatment

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Managing diabetes can be complex. Achieving and maintaining one’s best health for this chronic condition, which causes higher than normal blood sugar levels, depends on a person’s ability to monitor symptoms, manage complicated medication regimens, control blood glucose and practice healthy behaviors.

“There are 50 different things — or maybe more — that a person with diabetes could be doing at any time to best manage their condition,” says Stella Wong, Senior Director for Product Development at CVS Health. “It's overwhelming.”
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In the U.S., more than 34 million people live with diabetes and deal with these challenges, according to the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation. And only about 23 percent of people with Diabetes have it under control, says Peter Simmons, RPh, Vice President of Chronic Care Optimization. “Given the array of solutions available, that's a shame. We feel like we can do better.”

To do that, CVS Health created a proactive, integrated and holistic plan that reimagines diabetes treatment for its members. The goal is to reduce the complexity of self-management and improve health outcomes for plan members with diabetes — while preventing its onset.

Available with Caremark and Aetna benefit plans, the Transform Diabetes Care program uses CVS Health data insights and analytics to create personalized care plans for individuals across five clinical areas. The plan can be communicated through local CVS pharmacists and HealthHUB® professionals, digitally and virtually. Members are provided myriad tools to support their personalized care plan.

Peter Simmons, Vice President of Chronic Care Optimization for CVS Health.
“We always seek to be consumer-centric, consider how to deliver care locally and make care as simple as possible for customers and patients,” says Peter Simon, CVS Health’s VP Chronic Care Optimization.

The data also allows CVS Health to identify gaps in care and respond to patient needs before they arise. This proactive approach sets it apart from most other treatment plans, says Kyle Smith, head of CVS Health Transformation Marketing. “I think that's the most compelling thing about the work that we're doing.”

The program also utilizes a Pharmacist Panel to help patients stick to their plans, says Pharmacy Services Market Support Coach Rebecca Rice. “Pharmacists continue the conversation with their patients about their health while building trust and rapport,” she says.

“We think about our purpose every day: how we can help people on their path to better health,” Simmons says. “We always seek to be consumer-centric, consider how to deliver care locally and make care as simple as possible for customers and patients, especially those managing chronic conditions such as diabetes.”

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Heart At Work: Janeika Knight

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Aetna HealthSpire sales manager Janeika Knight finds great fulfillment managing a team of 10 who assist Medicare beneficiaries. She’s also a National Guard medic on the frontline who supports the state of Tennessee by conducting crucial COVID-19 testing in underserved rural communities.

Thank you, Janeika, for bringing your heart to work as a respected and caring manager and for aiding your country at a time when it needs you most. #CVSHeartAtWork

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CVS Health reports second quarter results; diversified assets deliver strong enterprise results

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Healthy Communities News

Spotlighting local solutions to local health challenges

Each month, we’ll bring you an on-the-ground view of communities across the country and their local leaders, visionaries and volunteers. We’ll take an honest look at the problems they face and the innovative solutions they’ve found to address them — and we’ll spread their good ideas to other places with the same challenges.

Listen to the episode, "Testing Atlanta’s Westside".

Tune in and subscribe to our podcast

Listen to Healthy Communities News on the go using your favorite podcast platform.

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Highlighting the places and people who are making a difference

Join us on the journey and share these stories with your communities. Do you know of a great program that improves health in your community? Let us know!

Nominate a community

Stay informed

Stay up-to-date on our efforts to improve care across the nation. Visit our News & insights page or register for content alerts and our Leaders in Care newsletter.

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Two communities find healthy solutions that work

Two communities find healthy solutions that work
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Welcome to Healthy Communities News — where we highlight communities that are finding innovative solutions to solve local health challenges. Our first episode features communities battling two common and persistent problems: food deserts and heart disease. In Bridgeport, Connecticut, the East End Pop Up Market gives residents easy access to fresh food for the first time in four decades. In Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, church leaders are mixing faith with fitness to stem the tide of heart disease and diabetes in their congregations.


New market gives Bridgeport residents access to fresh food

As the economy struggles and poverty rises in Bridgeport, manufacturing jobs are not the only thing leaving town: Residents have had to go farther and farther to find fresh food. But a group of local businesspeople is looking to reverse that trend. They’re opening the new East End Pop-Up Market, which will offer not only fresh food, but also job training and wellness workshops. It’s a solution that can be a model for food deserts across the country.


Bridgeport market gives entrepreneurs a jump start

Small businesses can revitalize neighborhoods – so the Bridgeport OIC is lending a hand to local entrepreneurs. We talk to Jeff Nelson of Seeding Knowledge, a start-up that plants and maintains gardens and sells produce. He’s expanding his services to the East End Pop-Up Market, where he’ll offer not only fruits and vegetables, but cooking classes and gardening instruction.


Faith begets fitness in Mecklenburg County

Faith leaders, county health officials, the local health system and community groups have proven that it takes a village to address local health issues. The Village HeartBEAT program created a fitness challenge in local congregations. The goal? To help residents battling heart disease and diabetes. The program uses exercise, nutrition and community gardens to help raise the spirits and lower the weight of participants.

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Addressing opioid use disorder through treatment centers instead of prisons

Addressing opioid use disorder through treatment centers instead of prisons
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Local people with local solutions — that’s what we’re all about at Healthy Communities News. In this episode, our host, Hilary Russo, travels to Virginia and North Carolina to check out two communities taking creative approaches to address opioid use disorder. We’ll hear about these innovative solutions from the folks on the ground putting them into action and get a glimpse into recovery from Wanda Jenkins, who is using her experience with opioid use disorder to help others.


A helping hand from someone who’s been there: Gina’s story

In this episode’s podcast, we meet Gina Musa, who advocates passionately for community members in rural North Carolina struggling with opioid use disorder. A former sex worker, Gina draws on her own experience with addiction and recovery to connect people with much-needed resources and support. Today, she is a Linkage to Care Coordinator for the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, a job funded by an Aetna Foundation grant.

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Community joins forces to live healthy in Miami’s Little Havana

Community joins forces to live healthy in Miami’s Little Havana
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Much like the neighborhood for which it is named, the Live Healthy Little Havana program is a mix of many different elements. It’s a community-led initiative, a partnership with the government, a collaboration with health organizations and an effort to improve resident/police relations — all rolled into one.

To really know what a community needs, you have to live there. Talk with your neighbors over the back fence. See the issues with your own eyes. That’s what makes the Live Healthy Little Havana program a success.

Neighborhood residents, working as community liaisons, are at the heart of the work to improve life for those in the community. And everyone’s got a seat at the table, from government representatives to health workers to lifelong residents. It’s a model that’s driving change — and one that other communities can replicate.

Live Healthy Little Havana participants are working on multiple fronts toward a single goal — to improve life for the residents of this storied community. We showed up at one of their events to hear about how it’s working — and watched as kids from the neighborhood vied to be the first to get the local police commander into the dunk tank.

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