CVS Health's Merlo touts Aetna integration, opening of concept store

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CVS Health's Merlo touts Aetna integration, opening of concept store

By Sandra Levy - 01/08/2019
Six weeks after CVS closed its merger with health insurer Aetna, CVS Health president and CEO Larry Merlo outlined several initiatives to improve patient care that are already underway.

Speaking to investors at the 37th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference today, Merlo said this quarter CVS Health is launching a specialized program to help support Aetna members being treated for cardiovascular disease to prevent avoidable hospital readmissions.

CVS Health also is piloting a program this month enabling Aetna managers to facilitate the scheduling of MinuteClinic follow-up visits within 14 days post discharge when patients are unable to see their provider.

“We are also piloting a program that leverages CVS pharmacists to provide face-to-face interactions and educate Aetna members on the available care management programs, as well provide patient-specific strategies to migrate the risk of nonadherence, side effects or gaps in care,” Merlo said.

Merlo also said, “While it’s only been six weeks, we are absolutely off and running. We are opening a series of health care concept stores, which will be a testing ground for a new retail engagement model that brings healthcare services to consumers in a more convenient and accessible and consumer-focused manner. As we pilot the new program and service offerings, we will identify the solutions that are most effective and scalable, and roll them more broadly across our footprint.”

Next month, CVS Health also is opening its first concept store in Houston. Among some of the services that will be tested are new health-and-wellness categories in the front of the store; an expanded suite of healthcare services that include concierge and health-and-wellness support; such new clinical services as advanced screenings for chronic disease and phlebotomy in MinuteClinics; and enhanced personalized prescription services in the pharmacy.

“We’ll use our data and analytic capabilities to provide actionable information to our pharmacy staff in an effort to improve patient care,” Merlo said.

Merlo also said that another example of its patient concentric approach will focus on providing the necessary support and coordination that patients need in order to achieve their best health outcome on their patient journey.

“We will provide support to the patient to address many of the challenges they face. It could be arranging transportation to and from the procedure, supply of durable medical equipment to the patients’ home before the operation, conducting pre-op blood work, or providing post-op support that includes medication reconciliation and delivery,” he said.

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