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CVS vs. Walgreens, who wins the healthcare collaboration battle?

With the push for more collaboration in healthcare, both CVS Caremark and rival Walgreens have formed partnerships with hospitals and health systems.

On Aug. 27, CVS announced it had entered into a clinical affiliation with Washington, D.C.-based MedStar Health, a 10-hospital system with facilities in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region. Through the affiliation, Medstar Health patients will receive chronic disease monitoring, medication counseling, and clinical support at CVS stores and MinuteClinic, the retail healthcare division of CVS.

The Medstar Health affiliation brings CVS's total number of affiliations with hospitals and health systems to 41, while competitor Walgreens has more than 20. Since May, CVS has announced eight clinical collaborations, according to a Forbes report.

One of Walgreens' recent affiliations was with Heritage Provider Network, headquartered in Northridge, Calif. Under the agreement, Medicare Advantage and accountable care organization members who receive care at Arizona Priority Care — HPN's Arizona operating affiliate — will receive coordinated care and expanded services through certain Walgreens clinics.

With approximately 400 clinics throughout the U.S., Walgreens is the second largest chain of retail clinics in the country behind CVS.

Clinical affiliations, like the ones CVS and Walgreens are entering into, are growing in popularity due to the increased focus on improving quality of healthcare and population health, according to Forbes.

Focused on population health, in July, Walgreens launched an extension of its "Balance Rewards" program. The Balance Rewards for healthy choices™ initiative rewards members for participating in various health-related programs and tracking the progress of their health goals.

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