Tobacco-free for five years

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Five years ago, we made the bold decision to eliminate tobacco products from all of our CVS Pharmacy stores nationwide, and we’re still the only national pharmacy to do so.

Not only did our decision lead to 100 million fewer packs of cigarettes being sold in the first year since their removal, but we also took our efforts beyond our stores, helping 228 colleges and universities become tobacco free over the past five years and committing $50 million to deliver the first tobacco-free generation through our Be The First initiative.

And with the significant rise in teen e-cigarette use, we’re now working to combat vaping, too, including a $10 million commitment in 2019 to support youth smoking and e-cigarette prevention strategies and education in partnership with Discovery Education and CATCH Global Foundation, and our pledge earlier this year not to work with advertising or public relations agencies who work with tobacco and e-cigarette companies.

cvs heart

In 2014, we quit tobacco.

Nearly 65%

of Americans agree that our decision to stop selling tobacco reduces the risk of chronic diseaseStatistics from an August 2019 Morning Consult poll of 2,200 adults

62%

of adults agree that retailers have an obligation to limit access to tobacco and e-cigarette productsStatistics from an August 2019 Morning Consult poll of 2,200 adults

81%

of adults support improving community education about the dangers of smokingStatistics from an August 2019 Morning Consult poll of 2,200 adults

Beyond tobacco: Taking steps to transform health care

But our decision to eliminate tobacco was just the start. As a health care company now combined with Aetna, we’re taking even bolder steps to transform the consumer health care experience and help lead our customers, patients and the communities we serve on a path to better health.

On our shelves, customers now have access to more health-focused products and services than ever before. And we recently became the first and only national retailer to require that all vitamins and supplements undergo third-party testing to confirm they meet our high standards.

We’re also removing chemicals like parabens and phthalates from our store brand products and we took SPF less than 15 off our shelves.

At the local level, we’re building healthier communities with a $100 million investment in health and wellness, which includes programs aimed at helping people manage the most prevalent chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Moving into 2020, we will expand our focus on tobacco cessation and prevention, particularly within the Medicaid program where smoking rates are considerably higher than among all adults. We’ll be working with Aetna Better Health managed Medicaid plans and together with CVS Caremark clients interested in creating or expanding smoking cession efforts for their Medicaid members.

At CVS Health, we know that health is a personal journey. And from tobacco removal to our many other health-focused services and offerings, we’re committed to navigating that journey hand-in-hand with our customers and patients to ensure that the future of care is one in which everyone can achieve their best health.

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CVS Health to hire 15,000 across the U.S. in fourth quarter

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WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) today announced that it is recruiting qualified candidates to fill 15,000 jobs. These new and existing positions will help the company continue to respond to the needs of communities across the country during the fall and winter months when the incidences of COVID-19 and the flu are expected to increase.

More than 10,000 of the new roles are for full- and part-time licensed pharmacy technicians at CVS Pharmacy locations and will be filled as soon as possible, helping increase support for patients and fellow pharmacy professionals. Many of the positions are temporary with the possibility of becoming permanent. 

The company is also marking Pharmacy Technician Day on October 20th by advocating for an expanded scope of practice that would allow trained pharmacy technicians to administer COVID-19 vaccinations under the supervision of an immunization-certified pharmacist. As an integral part of the health care system, pharmacy technicians can help fill the urgent need to safely and quickly scale distribution of a vaccine and extend the capacity of the health care workforce to address the pandemic.

“Additional team members typically are needed every flu season,” said Lisa Bisaccia, Chief Human Resources Officer, CVS Health. “However, we’re estimating a much greater need for trained pharmacy technicians this year given the continued presence of COVID-19 in our communities. These jobs offer a rewarding career opportunity, with flexible hours, advancement potential and a supportive environment while helping people on their path to better health.” 

Working under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist, CVS Health pharmacy technicians continue to serve as a trusted resource for patients by processing prescriptions, dispensing medications, providing information to customers or health professionals and performing administrative tasks. They also are vital to administering COVID-19 tests at more than 4,000 drive-thru testing sites at select CVS Pharmacy locations across the country. In this role, they are critical in helping to curb the spread of the virus and expand access to care, particularly in underserved communities.

Additional on-site roles that are part of the company’s recruiting effort include pharmacists, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, member benefit case professionals, and distribution center employees.

Finally, to support the CVS Caremark and CVS Specialty pharmacy businesses, the company is recruiting for several thousand work-from-home customer service representative positions across the country, with hundreds of openings in several markets, including: Indianapolis, IN; Kansas City, MO; Knoxville, TN; Mt. Prospect, IL; Orlando, FL; Pittsburgh, PA; and  San Antonio, TX. These full-time opportunities start at 30 hours per week and offer a flexible schedule for people seeking to quickly get back to work. Candidates for these opportunities can easily apply online and take an online virtual job tryout.

“By leveraging CVS Health’s innovation and technology, we can help get more Americans back to work from the convenience of their own homes, where they can contribute to the company’s ongoing efforts to help solve the country’s health care challenges,” said Jeffrey Lackey, Vice President of Talent Acquisition, CVS Health.

The additional 15,000 positions are incremental to the accelerated recruiting effort that was announced in March to hire 50,000 new colleagues in support of the company’s response to the pandemic.

Opportunities for full-time colleagues include competitive pay, paid training and a generous benefits package. 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, can be found in the company's COVID-19 Response Report.

CVS Health is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. We do not discriminate in recruiting, hiring or promotion based on race, ethnicity, sex/gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability or protected veteran status or on any other basis or characteristic prohibited by applicable federal, state, or local law.

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

Joe Goode
401-378-5220
Joseph.Goode@CVSHealth.com

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Our COVID-19 response

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With our presence in local communities and our commitment to healthcare transformation, CVS Health is uniquely positioned to respond to this pandemic.

Our response to this major public health challenge has been swift, responsive, and multidimensional, as our nearly 300,000 colleagues from across the business have joined forces to make a meaningful impact on the critical needs this pandemic has created.

This report details how every business unit across our enterprise is rising to the challenge to support our customers, colleagues, communities and patients through some of their most difficult times, including ways that we’re working to keep our employees safe, the critical testing capabilities we’ve brought to sites nationwide, and the work we’re doing to help communities most impacted by the pandemic.

Read the report to learn more about our enterprise-wide efforts to keep people on their path to better health during these unprecedented times.

A medical professional, in full personal protective equipment (PPE), inserts a swab into a vial to be processed to test for COVID-19. The vial is surrounded by a red-colored CVS Health heart outline.
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Healthy Conversations, Episode 3: COVID-19 Reset

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Welcome to Healthy Conversations, an open discussion among healthcare professionals about the latest innovations, what we've learned on the front lines of the pandemic, and how our industry is changing in real time. There might not be a specific moment when we can hit the reset button and start to tackle systemic healthcare challenges with a clean slate, but smaller resets are already underway. Join us as we examine what a COVID-19 Reset looks like for doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals.

We spoke with Dr. Rushika Fernandopulle, founder and CEO of Iora Health, about how physicians have addressed the pandemic in their own practices and the changing perceptions around value based care. You can find Dr. Fernandopulle’s full interview in the accompanying podcast (below) episode.

As discussed earlier in this series, COVID-19 is causing us to rethink and readjust how we deliver care. Broader systemic change starts within individual systems. For insight into how CVS is changing its own systems, we spoke to Dr. Dan Knecht and Angie Meoli.

One of the most eye-opening impacts of COVID-19 has been the dramatic disparities highlighted in our healthcare system. Dr. Dela Taghipour and Dr. Nadia Abuelezam will discuss how we can collectively reimagine community healthcare to address those disparities.

Subscribe to the Healthy Conversations podcast

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

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Healthy Conversations
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Heart At Work: Coram Nurses nurture their patient to good health

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It was the peak of COVID-19 and their patient suffered from pancreatitis. When she recovered, she was so grateful for the expert round-the-clock care provided by Coram nurses: Nancy Marlett, Mallory Young and Lucy Runnels, she made a very special video to let them know. 

Nancy, Mallory and Lucy, thank you for nurturing your patient back to health through your medical expertise and dedication. You exemplify the very best in the profession.

Heart At Work recognizes CVS Health heroes across the country who bring their hearts to work, helping people on their path to better health. Read their stories, watch their videos and celebrate our CVS Health Heart At Work heroes along with us!

Three Coram® nurses, from left to right: Nancy Marlett, Mallory Young, and Lucy Runnels.
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Branches in Miami supports students and their families amid COVID-19

Branches in Miami supports students and their families amid COVID-19
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The coronavirus has touched all of our lives in one way or another. Children, in particular, are in an ongoing state of flux. Many classes in schools and colleges across the country have been upended. We did find an oasis in South Florida where an organization called Branches has been working diligently for over 25 years to serve the neighborhood’s youth and their families.

For the podcast (below) we spoke with executive director Brent McLaughlin and Kim Torres, Director of Student Services, and Branches partner Rosa Santiago — as well as students Kelson Baptiste, Vicshonda “Vicky” Bellany, and Melvin Amaya.

Aetna Better Health®, a Medicaid managed care plan in Florida, has a long-standing relationship with Branches as a community partner.

Tune in and subscribe to our podcast

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

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Help patients remain engaged while socially distant

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A global health pandemic comes with tremendous uncertainty and anxiety. Patients deserve stability and peace of mind when it comes to their health care — the last thing that should create additional concern is whether they can access the medicines or care they need while staying socially distant.

Recognizing our responsibility to provide patients with additional support at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we tapped into our solutions to ensure that all patients continue to get their medications and care without leaving the home — and at a price they can afford. 

Avoiding potential exposure without avoiding care

When the pandemic spread, routine and preventive medical care plummeted. In fact, Health Care Cost Institute estimates that millions of Americans continue to forego this type of care.https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/11/upshot/pandemic-decline-preventive-care.html

Avoiding health care needs can have serious consequences that come at a cost to individual health — and the system as a whole — in the future. Similarly, avoiding care for chronic conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, can cause more problems down the road. Patients who stop taking needed medications, or don’t get started on them, also face the risk of complications.

Our digital and remote pharmacy touchpoints help to keep patients safe, healthy, and at home as much as possible. To help prevent potential gaps in care and keep people safe at home, CVS Health led an early effort with local agencies to change regulations and enable greater remote pharmacy care management. Additionally, we made changes to our business to help minimize trips to the pharmacy, including early refill prescriptions, expanded access to 90-day supplies of maintenance medications by mail and free prescription delivery from retail stores.

Specialty members warrant added attention

We are working with hospitals and providers across the country to continue to support solutions that create much-needed hospital bed capacity and ensure streamlined care for many specialty patients. Through Coram, clinicians can deliver a clinically appropriate in-home care setting for patients recovering from a range of illnesses, which can help minimize their risk of contracting COVID-19 during treatment.

Alan Lotvin
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Secure the supply of medicines

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For patients, especially those living with complex or chronic illnesses, ensuring an uninterrupted supply of needed medications is crucial to their care. In the face of the enormous pressure the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on the U.S. health care system, our responsibility to ensure members have affordable access to the medications they need – when they need them – is critical.

From the onset of the pandemic, we’ve adapted our business practices to maintain the services that our clients and more than 100 million Americans depend on. We recognize that for someone living with a condition, such as lupus or asthma, going without a medication can create negative and costly consequences. 

Monitoring prescription supply to meet member needs

The current landscape has required the drug supply chain to be more responsive and effective. We work across the supply chain to carefully monitor prescription availability, potential shortages and spikes in demand. This way, we can stay one step ahead of utilization trends to help ensure that people have access to the medicines needed to manage their health and avoid costly complications down the road.

Using predictive analytics, we can monitor prescription usage trends and adapt drug supplies as needed. 

Moving forward, it will be important to use these analytics not only to understand supply and demand trends but analyze where pharmaceutical ingredients are coming from. Early in the pandemic, we shifted our practices to account for COVID-19 spikes in locations like Northern Italy, India and China, which are central to the pharmaceutical supply chain.

Alan Lotvin
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Ensure pharmacy benefits meet patients’ needs

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Because no two clients’ needs are the same, we customize our services, tools and programs to deliver the greatest value to both clients and their unique member populations. As our clients face the economic realities as a result of  the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re working in a consultative role to ensure they can continue to keep their populations and workforces adherent to their medicines and care, which in turn creates positive health outcomes and drives longer-term health savings. 

The pharmacy is the location where patients most frequently interact with their health care. By expanding health capabilities and services within our pharmacy benefits, we can have a positive impact on patient and member health. Beyond securing the lowest possible cost for medicines, we also work with clients to design benefits that include digital touchpoints and personalized support so that every member can start and stay on their medicines.

As telemedicine and digital health remain paramount, these digital touchpoints are critical in keeping our 100 million members engaged in their health. 

Benefits that meet patients where they are

COVID-19 has underscored how important it is for us to maintain and enhance our services for clients and members in our physically distant world.

For example, members with chronic conditions have access to specially trained clinicians at their fingertips through our Pharmacy Advisor program. The program offers personalized support over the phone – or in person if preferred – for questions on managing a chronic condition, how different medicines may affect each other and how to handle side effects.

Through our nurse-led chronic care management program, Accordant, patients with rare, chronic diseases can get virtual support and remote monitoring to help with managing their benefits and conditions.

Our Point Solutions Management offering helps employers and health plans augment their pharmacy benefits with carefully vetted digital solutions that address key aspects of health care costs. These tools guide members in strategies to reduce worry and anxiety, improve heart health, get better sleep and make smarter nutritional choices. They are easy to use and come at no additional cost to members enrolled in a participating health plan.

We’re bringing these practical solutions to our clients and members through an integrated model that draws upon our deep knowledge, longstanding partnerships and industry expertise.

Alan Lotvin
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Help members access the most cost-effective drug through clinical expertise

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Prescription medicines are the most cost-effective part of our health care ecosystem, but they’re only clinically effective if patients can afford them. The amount that patients pay out-of-pocket has long been a point of contention in our health care system. Further underscoring this point, a recent CVS Health survey found that more than 70% of patients are concerned about the cost of their prescriptions.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to create financial hardship in virtually every community. Recognizing this reality, solutions that help ensure that patients have access to prescriptions will be mission critical.

Clinical strategies to manage drug costs

Utilization management strategies are a cornerstone of our pharmacy benefit strategies. They enable appropriate use of medicines and help to mitigate the impact of high-cost drugs that do not demonstrate a clear clinical benefit.

We are closely monitoring trends in utilization, particularly high-cost specialty drugs, to stay ahead of the curve and ensure that patients can access clinically appropriate new therapies, while reducing wasteful spend.

We use innovative strategies to encourage the use of lower cost and clinically equivalent generic options when appropriate. Through these strategies, we continue to blunt the impact of price inflation, prioritize lower-cost generic options when clinically appropriate, and keep members’ out-of-pocket costs in check.

Prioritizing member savings and adherence

We also know that patients want to know whether their drug is covered, what it will cost out-of-pocket and have the ability to discuss with their provider. Just because a drug is expensive, doesn’t mean it’s the best option for every patient. That’s why we utilize patient-centric programs to make sure patients can access medicines that will create the best clinical outcome at the lowest possible cost.

Our approximately 100 million members, their prescribing physicians and pharmacists provides have immediate access to real-time prescription benefit information, including how much a drug will cost. With this information at hand, physicians and pharmacists can identify an alternative, clinically appropriate option, when possible.

We also offer a robust set of consumer-friendly tools to help members better understand how to access the most effective medicine at the lowest cost. With the digital tool Savings Advisor, members can view costs readily, enabling them to make more informed decisions about medicines choices.

Alan Lotvin
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