Timeline of CVS activity in 2020

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As the COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on the role pharmacies play in public health, CVS has had a year filled with activity and expansion.

Below is a timeline of CVS' moves in 2020, as reported by Becker's Hospital Review.

Jan 6: CVS joined other retail pharmacy chains, including Walgreens and Walmart, in suing hundreds of physicians in Ohio, claiming they need to take responsibility for their part in the opioid epidemic.

Jan. 13: CVS Health added 15 HealthHUB locations to its retail pharmacies in the Greater Houston area.

Jan. 14: CVS Health CEO Larry Merlo told Forbes the company plans to add 600 HealthHUB locations by the end of 2020 and offer low to zero copayments for Aetna members.

Jan. 16: CVS Health offered emergency prescription refills for its customers in Puerto Rico who were affected by earthquakes.

Jan. 22: Walgreens and CVS filed a complaint claiming 500 anonymous physicians are the "real culprits" behind Florida's opioid crisis, not the pharmacists who filled the opioid prescriptions.

Jan. 29: CVS Caremark, the pharmacy benefit unit of CVS Health, launched a program that eliminates out-of-pocket costs for diabetes drugs and insulin for its members.

Feb. 3: CVS Health announced it would drop three directors from its 16-member board, including former Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini.

Feb. 11: CVS Health announced plans to donate more than $67 million in 2020 to address housing insecurities and promote community health improvement.

Feb. 12: CVS Health exceeded Wall Street's expectations with its 2019 fourth-quarter results, boosted largely by its pharmacy benefit management business. 

On the same day, CVS Health announced four changes to its executive leadership team. Alan Lotvin, MD, became president of CVS Caremark, Jonathan Meyhew became executive vice president of transformation, Alec Cunningham became executive vice president and COO of Aetna and Derica Rice left the company.

March 6: CVS Health made diagnostic testing and telemedicine visits available with no copay for Aetna members to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

March 9: CVS Pharmacy said it will offer free home delivery of prescription drugs during the COVID-19 pandemic to allow customers to stay at home as much as possible. 

March 10: CVS Pharmacy acquired all 110 of St. Louis-based grocery store chain Schnucks' retail and specialty pharmacies.

March 11: CVS Health added five more digital health services to its Point Solutions Management platform, through which CVS Caremark pharmacy benefit management clients can cover the costs of digital health tools for employees. The five new offerings are Hello Heart, Hinge Health, Livongo, Torchlight and Whil.

March 13: CVS announced plans to conduct COVID-19 tests in parking lots outside of their stores. 

March 16: CVS Health expanded its Guardian Angel program, designed to support people who have suffered from opioid-related overdoses, to include more services in North Carolina, New Orleans and Tampa Bay, Fla. 

March 18: CVS Health issued a statement to clarify its workplace policies a few days after more than 4,000 employees signed a petition demanding paid sick leave and protective gear.

March 23: CVS Health said it will hire 50,000 full-time and part-time employees across the country to keep up with increased demand for its services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

March 19: CVS Health opened its first COVID-19 testing site in Shrewsbury, Mass.

April 6: CVS Health announced it was opening a pop up pharmacy in New Orleans and two drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites in Georgia and Rhode Island.

April 17: CVS Health began working with UCLA Health to move stable patients from hospitals to home care to make hospital beds available for COVID-19 patients. Coram, a CVS Health branch that provides infusion therapy services, expanded its capacity to treat more patients in home-based settings.

April 27: CVS and UPS announced plans to use drones to deliver prescriptions to residents in a Florida retirement community.

On the same day, the company also announced plans to offer self-swab COVID-19 tests at as many as 1,000 locations across the country.

April 29: CVS MinuteClinic launched virtual visits in 33 states and Washington, D.C.

April 30: Coram began working with Atlanta-based Piedmont Healthcare in Georgia to free up hospital beds for COVID-19 patients. 

May 4: CVS Health said it would increase access to mental health services to help flatten "the second curve" of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

May 6: CVS Health reported a 9 percent increase in sales during the first quarter as customers stocked up on supplies to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. 

May 19: A Business Insider article revealed CVS Health returned the $43.3 million it received from the provider relief fund created under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

May 27: Six Blue Cross Blue Shield companies filed a lawsuit against CVS Health, claiming the retail pharmacy chain "intentionally engaged" in a fraud scheme for more than a decade to overcharge for prescription drugs by submitting insurance claims for payment at artificially inflated prices. 

May 28: CVS began testing prescription delivery using self-driving vehicles in a partnership with Nuro, a technology company based in Mountain View, Calif.

June 19: CVS Health began building a new office in Arizona as it expands its Aetna One Advocate care management program.

June 21: CVS launched an in-store fundraising campaign to support the American Lung Association's COVID-19 Action Initiative, a research effort to develop new vaccines, tests and treatments for future respiratory viruses.

June 24: CVS Health began selling a program to employers and universities called Return Ready, which offers diagnostic testing to help them return to work and school safely. 

On the same day, a Nephron Research report showed CVS Health's plans to launch a group purchasing organization called Zinc for its pharmacy benefit manager business.

July 8: CVS Pharmacy developed Spoken Rx, a new feature on its app that can read prescription labels out loud for visually impaired patients. 

July 15: CVS Health launched a campaign called "Time for Care" to encourage Americans to seek primary care during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On the same day, the Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy issued $125,000 worth of fines to CVS Health for conditions found at four locations in the state, including understaffing issues and errors related to filling prescriptions.

July 29: CVS Health customers in Georgia and Massachusetts gained access to $59 telehealth visits through the retail giant's MinuteClinics.

July 30: CVS signed a contract with PayPal and later became the first national retailer to offer contactless Venmo and PayPal technology at checkout registers.

Aug. 5: CVS reported strong second quarter results and raised its outlook for the year, boosted by the lack of elective surgeries during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Aug. 10: CVS Health partnered with Salesforce to combine their COVID-19 return-to-work solutions for wellness monitoring, contact tracing and testing in a single platform for customers.

Aug. 11: A Forbes report reveals that CVS Health resumed converting its stores into HealthHubs after pausing some construction in late March.

Aug. 17: CVS Health said its Aetna division partnered with Lyft to donate $100,000 in rides for families in school districts around the country. 

Aug. 18: CVS Health partnered with Delta Air Lines to expand the airline's employee COVID-19 testing program.

Aug. 27: CVS installed time-delay safes at all 446 of its Massachusetts pharmacy locations to deter robberies by electronically lengthening the time it takes for pharmacy staff or intruders to open medication safes.

Aug 31: CVS Health and Aetna began offering a health plan in the Kansas City, Mo., market that integrates both companies' services.

On the same day, a Business Insider report revealed an email in which a CVS district leader told staff not to tell patients their prescriptions were filled by an employee who tested positive for COVID-19. 

Sept. 11: CVS expanded its COVID-19 testing to children ages 12 and older.

Sept. 15: CVS Health began offering Aetna commercial and CVS Caremark members a one-year subscription to Apple Fitness+.

Sept. 16: CVS Health said it is investing $13.7 million to help renovate 230 low-income housing apartments in Columbus, Ohio, as part of its commitment to invest nearly $600 million over five years to address racial inequality and social determinants of health in Black communities. 

Sept. 17: CVS Health announced plans to double the number of COVID-19 test sites it operates and bring the total to more than 4,000 by mid-October. 

Oct. 5: Shipt, an online delivery service owned by Target, began offering free flu shots at CVS pharmacies. 

Oct. 9: A report from the Journal Inquirer revealed CVS Health-owned Aetna is eliminating an undisclosed number of jobs at its Hartford, Conn.-based headquarters.

Oct. 12: Kent State University in Ohio partnered with CVS Health to provide free COVID-19 testing for all students, faculty and staff.

Oct. 16: CVS Health partnered with HHS to offer free COVID-19 vaccines at long-term care facilities. 

Oct. 19: CVS Health began recruiting workers to fill 15,000 new positions as a part of its pandemic response.

Oct. 28: CVS Health announced plans to add rapid COVID-19 testing at 1,000 pharmacies by the end of 2020.

Nov. 6: CVS Health President and CEO Larry Merlo announced he will step down from his role in February and hand the reins over to Karen Lynch, president of CVS' Aetna insurance unit.

On the same day, the company reported strong third quarter results but said the pandemic has hurt its prescription volume.

Nov. 11: CVS Health named Daniel Finke as the new president of its Aetna healthcare benefits segment

Nov. 30: Neela Montgomery became the president of CVS Health's pharmacy business. 

Dec. 2: CVS partnered with HHS to administer Eli Lilly's COVID-19 antibody drug to high-risk patients at home and in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. 

Dec. 6: CVS Health sent an email to its customer base saying it is "urgently hiring" thousands of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and nurses to help administer COVID-19 vaccines once an FDA emergency use authorization is issued.

 

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