How creativity and compassion drove CVS Specialty’s pandemic response

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 When the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020, CVS Specialty teams – from pharmacists and clinical experts to our specialized care and customer support units – confronted challenges they had never before seen. For example, Accordant, which provides nurse-led care management to members with complex, chronic diseases, and Coram, delivering specialty pharmacy and infusion therapy services in home-based and outpatient settings, realized they needed to make swift adjustments to ensure safety for all and continue providing quality care for patients.

Prem Shah, Executive Vice President, Specialty Pharmacy and Product Innovation for CVS Health, spoke recently with Andrew Krueger, M.D., Medical Director of Accordant Health Services, and Tricia Lacavich, Vice President and General Manager of Coram CVS Specialty Infusion Services, to reflect on how they responded to the crisis and how it may have a longstanding impact on how CVS Specialty supports patients.

Prem Shah: At the beginning of the pandemic, we knew that our Accordant members and Coram patients would need extra support to make sure all of their concerns were addressed. How did Accordant and Coram work to respond to their members’ and patients’ needs during this time?

Tricia Lacavich: Because Coram offers home-based care, our top priority was creating a safe environment in the home for our patients. We began making video calls to patients to ensure they were feeling secure and able to competently access their medication. We also immediately put a screening process in place to protect the health of our patients and staff.

As you know, personal protective equipment (PPE) was in short supply at the beginning of the pandemic, and our patient-facing nurses were in critical need of gowns, gloves and N100 masks to make sure they remained safe in the patient's home.

You may also recall hospital occupancy was a major concern. And as you’ve said previously, unprecedented challenges require innovative thinking and swift action. Recognizing the need for quick solutions, we put our Hospital Capacity Optimization program in place to help transition eligible IV-therapy patients to home-based nursing care, with the goal of ultimately increasing hospital bed capacity for those who need it most during the pandemic. And now, we’re partnering with HHS to administer COVID-19 treatment to eligible, high-risk patients in their homes or long-term care facilities as part of the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed.

Dr. Andrew Krueger: On the Accordant side, we were deeply concerned about the impact a COVID-19 diagnosis would have on our member population, many of whom are immunocompromised. We knew we had to act quickly to educate our staff on care management and prevention guidelines and create a space for them to share questions from our members. One of the ways we provided information to our staff was through a podcast series dedicated to COVID-19 education for our nurses. It covered a range of topics from prevention, to testing and treatments, which were critical to their day-to-day communication with their members. 

We also established a set of questions our nurses were required to ask every member on a regular basis to make sure they were staying safe and healthy. 

Prem Shah: There’s not a single person in this country who has been unaffected by COVID-19 or its ripple effects – even the healthiest among us. Many of our Specialty patients and members are particularly vulnerable. What have been your patients’ or member’s main concerns about COVID-19, and how have you responded?

Dr. Krueger: Everybody is different. Some Accordant members depend on their physicians for advice about the virus, while others rely on social media. But, across the board, we saw an increase in anxiety in our members – potentially due in part to misinformation. We organized our nurses to focus on keeping members safe and making sure they knew what to do if they got sick.

Depression has been another issue for many of our Accordant members. We’ve been screening members regularly for depression, and we helped with physician referrals and coordinating telehealth appointments when doctors weren’t seeing their patients in person.&

In the early days of the pandemic, some Accordant members told us they were nervous about getting their medications filled in-person at the pharmacy. We worked with them closely to address these concerns, and for many that included shifting to mail order to maintain continuity of care. It’s worth noting that every situation was unique, and the solution was not a one-size-fits-all, so this meant supporting members based on their needs.

Lacavich: Our Specialty patients were concerned about Coram staff coming to their home to administer the infusions, but they also didn’t feel comfortable going to an office or hospital to get them. We invested a lot in education to help patients understand our rigorous guidelines around COVID-19 symptom-checking and the use of PPE to quell their concerns. For example, think about how daunting the N100 mask looks at first. That could be scary for patients to see and it caused real concern, so we aimed to educate them on why our staff wore these masks: They may look scary at first, but they’re really a positive thing that’s meant to protect their health and ours.

In addition, our Specialty patients were also concerned about supply. Some of our tube-feeding patients expressed fear they would be unable to get their nutrition, or their child’s nutrition. Many patients called into our centers asking for 90- and 120-day refills. We worked continually to reassure patients that there was plenty of supply and they would not run out.

These efforts were no small feat and required round-the-clock work and creative thinking from the Coram team at the beginning of the pandemic. However, our patient’s safety comes first, and their appreciation kept our team going. In fact, we’ve received a tremendous amount of feedback from patients who were incredibly grateful to be able to receive their infusions at home, and shared that it not only helped them feel safe during the pandemic, but gave them that human connection so many of us were craving in those early days. In some instances, our Coram staff was there when no one else could be, including their own family.

Prem Shah: What is the greatest lesson you’ve taken away from the past several months?

Dr. Krueger: This is not a new lesson, but one that has been reinforced for me: Health care is deeply personal. It’s most effective when people have meaningful interactions with a real, live human being.

That’s where our nursing teams came in. Members were reassured they were not in this alone – that their care management team is there for them. In a world that was very uncertain and changing rapidly, they brought a bit of calmness and consistency to it.

Lacavich: I've learned we have to be ready to pivot from what we thought and knew as we confront new challenges with an open mind. These are stressful times but my team, as well CVS Specialty as a whole, proved they can move mountains. We faced some pretty challenging situations, but we worked together to ensure our No. 1 priority – patient safety and quality care. Despite the incredible challenges brought on by the pandemic, no one ever just threw their hands up and said, "This can't be done." To me that speaks volumes.

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Advocating for the IBD community – on wheels

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Cory Greenberg, an ambitious native Californian determined to become a professional cyclist, was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) at 22 years old.

With his professional journey underway, becoming an athlete suddenly seemed impossible – having to travel across the globe for trainings and competitions while managing a chronic autoimmune disease with no current cure.

But ask him today, and Cory will tell you otherwise.

Cory has a message for people living with Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis – the two debilitating, incurable forms of IBD – and their caregivers.

“An IBD diagnosis just walks into your life, and it has a huge mental impact,” Cory shared. “I didn’t take the diagnosis seriously because I didn’t want to truly accept it. Then, I reached a point with my condition where I couldn’t race, and I was facing the possibility of surgery.”

After starting on treatment, Cory’s condition and outlook began improving, and he shared how CVS Specialty has made getting his medication delivered and his questions answered simple – whether he’s in Germany, California, or anywhere in between.

Photo of Cory Greenberg cycling on a road with mountains in the background.
Cory Greenberg is using his career as a professional cyclist to unite a global community of people living with a chronic autoimmune disease.

Now, as a professional cyclist with an increasingly global presence, Cory is using his career to elevate the voice of the IBD community and empower its members to live their best. 
 
“With CVS Specialty, I’m always able to receive the care that I need so I can get the message across to people all across the world that IBD doesn’t have to stop people from following their dreams,” he said.

Ultimately, Cory will launch his own campaign called “Ride4IBD,” where he’ll use cycling as a vehicle to demonstrate what’s possible and break down social stigmas across the globe.

To kick off the next era of his advocacy, Cory is hosting a first-of-its-kind IBD fundraiser via Zwift.com, a virtual cycling platform, for Crohn’s & Colitis Week (December 1-7, 2020). He is also partnering closely with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation to raise awareness and funds toward finding a cure.

“My personal mission is to build a global community of empowered IBD patients,” Cory said, “and I’m grateful for CVS Specialty, helping make what I’m doing possible.”

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During Nurses Month, we salute the vital work that nurses do every day

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This year, on the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, National Nurses Month is celebrating the dedication of nurses in every interaction, every setting, every era, every day. Throughout May, CVS Health is also recognizing the thousands of nurses who work across our enterprise in this time of extraordinary challenge.

In honor of Nurses Month and in recognition of the vital work of nursing, CVS Health is making a $40,000 donation to Direct Relief to deliver protective gear and critical care medications to as many health care workers as possible.

Today, many nurses are found on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Others are contributing their expertise, experience and compassion behind the scenes. This includes some 10,000 nurses, nurse practitioners, LVNs and LPNs working for Aetna, MinuteClinic, CVS Caremark and Omnicare. All have been doing amazing work since COVID-19 began, including volunteering to oversee rapid testing in various areas or embracing new ways to treat patients during social distancing.

Sheryl Burke, Aetna Senior Vice President of Cross-Enterprise Strategic Innovation, recently praised nurses by saying, “You care for our customers and members like your own family through teaching, advocacy, listening and action. Your efforts have been nothing short of extraordinary and are well-deserving of our sincere gratitude.”

To learn more about the extraordinary work being done by our CVS Health nursing professionals, take a look at our Friday Pulse video recognizing Nurses Month. And please join us in celebrating nurses!

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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Supporting our frontline workers during COVID-19

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During the COVID-19 pandemic our colleagues are on the front lines. They’re working in our CVS Pharmacy locations, call centers, warehouses and mail facilities. They’re caring for patients one-on-one in their homes and long-term care facilities.

To support them, tens of thousands of CVS Health employees are working behind the scenes to help them focus on serving our patients, members and colleagues. 

“Our purpose of helping people on their path to better health has never been more obvious than during this pandemic,” said Colleen McIntosh, senior vice president, Corporate Secretary and Chief Governance Officer.

Colleen’s team provides licensing support for CVS Health. They’re working through the pandemic to make sure “we can turn the lights on” in our stores.

“We are going to come out of this as a stronger, more collaborative, empathetic organization.” — Katie Long, Senior Director of Plan Sponsor Services at CVS Health
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Eileen Cook, a senior director in Learning and Development, works with nearly 500 colleagues spread out across the country. They’re remaining focused on orientation, onboarding and training — especially important as CVS Health is hiring 50,000 people in response to COVID-19.

In Plan Sponsor Services, Senior Director Katie Long oversees 300 colleagues. Some now are teleworking. Others are in the office working through social-distancing guidelines.

Despite the challenges, she remains positive.

“We are going to come out of this as a stronger, more collaborative, empathetic organization,” Katie says.

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Home care dietitians improve tube feeding patient outcomes

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Coram’s research highlights the critical role home care dietitians play in decreasing tube feeding intolerance and improving nutrition outcomes

Home-based health care continues to gain traction as an option for people living with a variety of chronic conditions. In fact, home infusion care can be a safe and cost-effective treatment alternative when compared to the same care provided in an in-patient or hospital setting. Coram CVS Specialty Infusion Services (Coram) is leading the way in home infusion care and parenteral (intravenous) and enteral (tube feeding) nutrition with a team of skilled home care Registered Dietitians, who can address nutrition intolerance, assess adequacy of hydration in feeding regimens, and address associated patient questions.

To advance the knowledge of health care practitioners and improve care for patients, Coram is actively involved in home nutrition care research. This research includes evaluating the impact of transitioning nutrition care from the hospital to the home and the benefits of home-based parenteral and enteral nutrition in certain populations.

Coram dietitians Nicki Bray, MS, RD, LDN; Sarah Allen MS, RD, LDN; and Caitlin Wendecker, RD, CNSC, recently conducted research to evaluate the efficacy of home care dietitian recommendations in addressing reported enteral nutrition intolerances, and the critical role home care dietitians play in creating interventions to improve nutrition outcomes. They shared their findings in their abstract, Home Care Dietitian Intervention Effectiveness to Reported Intolerance.

When patients are sent home from the hospital with little additional support and potentially poor tolerance to tube feedings, their outlook and compliance with their home tube feeding regimen may be impacted. Identifying and effectively addressing intolerance will increase a patient’s compliance and improve nutrition outcomes.

Coram conducted a retrospective review of adult patient records that reported intolerance within 48 hours of start of care. This retrospective review supported the important role of home care dietitians in evaluating and managing tube feeding intolerance, with dietitian interventions effective for 72% of patients by day 30 and 91% of patients by day 60. Without appropriate intervention by a dietitian, patients may be at risk for poor nutrition outcomes such as gastrointestinal distress, malnutrition, weight loss or underfeeding.

Home enteral nutrition patients are also at increased risk for dehydration due to inadequate fluid administration, and Coram dietitians explored this in an additional abstract, Adequacy of Flushing Orders in Home Enteral Nutrition Patients, by Katrina Sesler, MS, RD, CNSC; Rebecca Caldwell, MS, RD, LDN; and Laura Kashtan, RD, which reviewed patients’ water flushing orders at discharge from facility to home care. From a retrospective chart review of adult patients, Coram dietitians noted that discharge flush orders are missing or are inadequate for a considerable number of home enteral nutrition patients. Individualized recommendations and early patient contact by a dietitian may be important to prevent dehydration in these patients.

Early intervention by home care dietitians can help patients address tube feeding intolerance, assess hydration levels, improve therapy compliance and address patient questions and concerns. This support can help improve patient outcomes, potentially preventing hospital readmission at a time when hospital resources are stretched due to the increasing rate of COVID-19 admissions. Measures to help patients remain home and avoid hospital readmission are always valuable, but today they are critical.

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CVS Health announces additional COVID-19 resources focused on patient access

CVS Health announces additional COVID-19 resources focused on patient access
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Latest enhancements will help prevent interruption of medication availability

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) is taking additional steps across the company to address the COVID-19 outbreak and protect patient access to medication.

"Being committed to the welfare of those we serve means being responsive to evolving needs and acting swiftly. This is particularly true in times of uncertainty," said Troyen Brennan, M.D., M.P.H., Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, CVS Health. "The latest steps we're taking will help ensure patients of all ages have every option available to them when it comes to filling prescriptions."

Beginning immediately, CVS Pharmacy will waive charges for home delivery of prescription medications. With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encouraging people at higher risk for COVID-19 complications to stay at home as much as possible, this is a convenient option to avoid coming to the pharmacy for refills or new prescriptions.

Building on a recent announcement that COVID-19 diagnostic testing and all telemedicine visits are available with no co-pay, Aetna, a CVS Health company, will now offer 90-day maintenance medication prescriptions for insured and Medicare members and is working with state governments to make the same option available to Medicaid members where allowable. Self-funded plan sponsors will also have the ability to offer this option. In addition, Aetna will waive early refill limits on 30-day prescription maintenance medications for all members with pharmacy benefits administered through CVS Caremark.

Caremark is working with all clients to waive early refill limits on 30-day prescription maintenance medications. Most Caremark clients already offer a 90-day benefit for maintenance medications and the option of home delivery from CVS Caremark Mail Service Pharmacy with no delivery cost.

"When you're in a position to increase convenience and help provide some peace of mind, you act. As long as COVID-19 continues to be a threat, we'll maintain a relentless focus on how best to serve our patients, members and customers," Brennan continued.

Through its frequently updated COVID-19 resource center, CVS Health is providing the latest information on precautions consumers should take to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and who should seek medical attention. Anyone presenting COVID-19 symptoms should contact their health care provider immediately.

About CVS Health

CVS Health employees are united around a common goal of becoming the most consumer-centric health company in the world. 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 http://www.cvshealth.com.

Media Contact

T.J. Crawford
212-457-0583
CrawfordT2@aetna.com

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CVS Kidney Care, Satellite Healthcare enter strategic relationship to advance the care of patients with kidney disease

CVS Kidney Care, Satellite Healthcare enter strategic relationship to advance the care of patients with kidney disease
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WOONSOCKET, R.I. and SAN JOSE, Calif. CVS Kidney Care, a CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) company, and Satellite Healthcare today announced a strategic relationship to advance the care of patients with kidney disease. CVS Kidney Care and Satellite Healthcare will collaborate to provide comprehensive kidney care, and to expand awareness of and access to transplantation and in-home dialysis initially in two locations, Los Angeles and Austin, Texas.

"We have known for many years that more frequent, longer dialysis improves patient outcomes. Realistically this can only be done in the home. Our relationship with Satellite Healthcare will help us make this option a reality for more patients," said Alan Lotvin, M.D., Executive Vice President CVS Health and President of CVS Caremark. "We anticipate expanding this strategic relationship over time, as people with chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal failure need earlier intervention and better options than they have today."

Satellite Healthcare is among the nation's leading not-for-profit providers of kidney dialysis and related services. It was the first health organization to launch comprehensive support for the entire spectrum of home self-care dialysis treatments. Together, the two companies will focus on increasing transplantation and the use of home therapies and will engage patients, payors, and physicians in these efforts. Ascend Clinical, the leading provider of clinical laboratory testing services to the dialysis community, was chosen to provide laboratory testing for CVS Kidney Care as part of this relationship.

"Satellite Healthcare has a long, rich history of delivering high-quality care for kidney patients. Through this strategic relationship with CVS Kidney Care, we will be able to educate patients earlier to delay disease progression, increase understanding of treatment options and offer our services to more patients. This is a win-win for the kidney community," said Rick Barnett, President & CEO, Satellite Healthcare.

CVS Health launched CVS Kidney Care to address the needs of patients at all points in their journey with a chronic kidney disease (CKD) management program, home dialysis services that the company is announcing today, and eventually pending successful completion of a clinical trial and the receipt of regulatory approval a new home hemodialysis device.

"Two years ago, we launched a strategic plan to transform kidney care," said Kari Holloway, General Manager, CVS Kidney Care. "Partnering with an organization known for delivering the highest standard of quality care represents the next phase in that plan. Combined with our care management services and future hemodialysis technology advancements, we are helping to guide the health care system from an overreliance on in-center dialysis to treatment delivered in the convenience of a patient's home."

In addition to the 37 million Americans who have kidney disease, nearly 700,000 have end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Of those with ESRD, more than 500,000 are on active dialysis and more than 120,000 new ESRD cases are diagnosed each year. Financially, this disease represents a significant burden. Medicare spending for all beneficiaries who had CKD exceeded $84 billion in 2017. When adding an additional $36 billion for ESRD costs, total Medicare spending on both CKD and ESRD was over $120 billion, representing 33.8% of total Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) spending. Despite this high level of spending, outcomes for dialysis patients are poor, with one in six dialysis patients dying in the first year after starting treatment.

About CVS Health

CVS Health employees are united around a common goal of becoming the most consumer-centric health company in the world. 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 http://www.cvshealth.com.

About Satellite Healthcare

Satellite Healthcare, Inc., has been among the nation's leading not-for-profit providers of kidney dialysis and related services since 1974. Through its affiliated services, Satellite WellBound, Satellite Dialysis, and Satellite Research, Satellite Healthcare provides unparalleled early patient wellness education, personalized clinical services, and a complete range of dialysis therapy choices. In addition, Satellite Healthcare has a well-recognized, enduring commitment to philanthropy and community service, from funding millions of dollars in research grants to sponsoring kidney programs nationwide. Satellite Healthcare is committed to advancing the standard of chronic kidney disease care so patients can enjoy a better life. For more information, visit satellitehealth.com.

Media contact

Erin Shields Britt
CVS Health
401-770-9237
Erin.Britt@CVSHealth.com

Patrice Smith
Satellite Healthcare
650-464-5373
smithpa@satellitehealth.com

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CVS Health Applauds Introduction of Key Legislation Ensuring Kidney Transplant Patients Can Maintain Medicare Coverage of Immunosuppressive Drugs

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WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health issued the following statement today regarding the introduction of the Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2019 in the United States Congress:

Tens of thousands of people in the United States have kidney transplants each year and taking immunosuppressant medications is key to the success of each patient’s journey. Unfortunately, when kidney patients are without health coverage, they too often stop taking these medications and in turn, redevelop kidney failure.  CVS Health applauds reintroduction of the Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2019, legislation that ensures kidney transplant patients can maintain access to Medicare Part B coverage for immunosuppressant drugs after it currently expires, if no other coverage is available.
 
As a company committed to patient-centric and clinically-optimal kidney care, we support policies like these that have the potential to improve the lives of kidney disease patients. CVS Health is focused on reshaping the patient experience through CVS Kidney Care and will continue to advance new kidney disease management programs while also developing new technologies to treat kidney failure. We applaud Representatives Michael Burgess (R-TX) and Ron Kind (D-WI) for championing this important legislation.

About CVS Health

CVS Health is the nation's premier health innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Whether in one of its pharmacies or through its health services and plans, CVS Health is pioneering a bold new approach to total health by making quality care more affordable, accessible, simple and seamless. CVS Health is community-based and locally focused, engaging consumers with the care they need when and where they need it. The Company has approximately 9,900 retail locations, approximately 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with approximately 102 million plan members, a dedicated senior pharmacy care business serving more than one million patients per year and expanding specialty pharmacy services. CVS Health also serves an estimated 38 million people through traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including rapidly expanding Medicare Advantage offerings and a leading standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. The Company believes its innovative health care model increases access to quality care, delivers better health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs. Find more information about how CVS Health is shaping the future of health at https://www.cvshealth.com.

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Why building trust is key to delivering crucial care to pharmacy patients

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Close-up photograph of doctor holding patient’s hand.

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

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

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

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

Asking the right questions to get a diabetes patient back on track

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Supporting the fight against HIV/AIDS

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

Reducing transmission of HIV

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

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

How it works

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information about CVS Health’s efforts to improve care across the nation, visit our News & Insights page and the CVS Health Impact Dashboard. To stay informed about the latest updates and innovations from CVS Health, register for content alerts and our Leaders in Care newsletter.

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