CVS moving to change healthcare: A timeline since the Aetna acquisition

Since buying health insurer Aetna in November, CVS Health has emphasized holistic healthcare rather than just selling medicine. The company said it hopes its strategic shift will lead to healthier communities and lower healthcare costs.

Below is a timeline of health-related moves from CVS reported by Becker's Hospital Review since it finalized its deal with Aetna. The timeline doesn't include the CVS acquisitions of other retail pharmacies. 

Nov. 28, 2018. CVS Health closes its $69 billion acquisition of Aetna. CVS Health President and CEO Larry Merlo says the deal "will simplify a complicated system and will help people achieve better health at a lower cost. We are also leading change in healthcare by challenging the status quo with new technologies, business models and partnerships."

Jan. 9. Mr. Merlo says CVS will kick-start specialized services for Aetna members with cardiovascular disease and pilot a readmission prevention program. Under the program, CVS plans to schedule MinuteClinic follow-ups within 14 days of hospital discharge when patients are unable to see a physician.

Jan. 14. CVS announces it will spend $100 million over the next five years on community health initiatives. It pledges to give $20 million annually to initiatives in three categories: improving local access to affordable, quality care; impacting public health challenges; and partnering with local communities. 

Jan. 30. Reports surface that CVS is piloting dental services. Under the program, CVS will help fit people for invisible braces via SmileDirectClub, a startup that offers direct-to-consumer teeth-straightening kits. Six of its drugstores will add a SmileShopExpress for customers to receive a 3D scan of their teeth to create invisible braces.

Feb. 13. CVS Health unveils three redesigned health-focused concept stores in the Houston market. The pilot stores, called HealthHubs, have space for services to help customers manage such chronic conditions as diabetes, hypertension and asthma. Each store also has an expanded health clinic with a lab for blood testing and health screenings. The stores have respiratory specialists and dietitians on staff.

Feb. 26. It is announced that CVS will spend $325 million and $350 million on technology to support offering more convenient healthcare.

March 20. CVS starts selling cannabis-based products in eight states

April 4. CVS expands its same-day prescription delivery service to 6,000 stores. The move comes as such retailers as CVS and Walgreens fight to compete with Amazon, which offers same-day delivery on toothpaste, bandages and other consumer health products.

May 1. CVS Health and Allentown, Pa.-based Lehigh Valley Health Network sign a five-year agreement that allows Lehigh Valley Health to share its EHR data with CVS to help connect the dots between patients, pharmacies, physicians and other health networks. 

May 6. CVS Health's subsidiary ProCare Pharmacy announces it will buy healthcare improvement company Premier's specialty pharmacy. 

June 4. After success with its pilot sites in Houston, CVS Health announces plans to open 1,500 HealthHub stores by the end of 2021.

June 11. CVS Health launches a platform that will allow its pharmacy benefit management clients to better manage contracts with third-party health and wellness vendors. The tool, Vendor Benefit Management, will offer CVS Caremark clients access to data on negotiated pricing, real-time eligibility verification and simpler billing and payment processing.

July 10.  MinuteClinic, CVS Health's retail medical clinic, launches telehealth programs in eight more states. Patients with minor illnesses, injuries or skin conditions now can seek care through virtual video visits in Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. 

July 17. CVS Health starts clinical trials of a home kidney dialysis device, HemoCare — a move that could shake up the end-stage kidney care market and create a new healthcare business for the retail pharmacy giant. The move to provide at-home dialysis care sets up the retail pharmacy giant to compete with two of the largest operators of U.S. dialysis centers, Fresenius Medical Care and DaVita. 

July 24. CVS Health launches a network to help connect Aetna's most vulnerable patients to support services in their communities. CVS will collaborate with Unite Us, a social care coordination platform, to help Aetna's Medicaid and dual-eligible Medicaid and Medicare members more easily access social services in their communities. Under the program, eligible members will be able to access Unite Us' network of social care providers.

July 30. CVS Health selects Sree Chaguturu, MD, to serve as CMO of its pharmacy benefits management business, CVS Caremark. Dr. Chaguturu served as chief population health officer for Boston-based Partners HealthCare.

Aug. 5. CVS Health expands its pharmacy loyalty and membership program nationwide. The CarePass program offers delivery of products ranging from shampoo to prescription medications. To participate, program customers pay $5 a month, or $48 annually, for one- to two-day delivery of drugstore products and prescription drugs, 24/7 access to a pharmacist helpline and a 20 percent discount on CVS Health-branded products. 

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