USA – CVS Health has announced that it would be adding primary care centers to hundreds of locations as well as opening more “HealthHUBs.”
CVS Health CEO Karen Lynch recently stated that company leaders have said they need to “push into primary care so that we can influence the overall cost of care.” Its goal is to provide customers with easier access to their care providers, resulting in lower costs.
According to the company’s website, HealthHUBs are intended to be a place where people can go to get care for everything from minor illnesses and injuries to chronic conditions and mental health issues. This year, the company intends to open approximately 1,000 HealthHUBs.
Lynch stated that CVS Health is “closer to the consumer than anyone else” during a webcast of the company’s annual investor meeting.
She went on to say that, despite having “significant influence over health care utilization,” primary care receives only about 10% of national health care spending.
Patients will be served by care teams comprised of doctors, nurses, and pharmacists at the primary care centers.
Other specialists, such as dieticians and social workers, will be present in some locations as well. Services will be provided both in-person and through telehealth.
Becoming a healthcare destination
According to Lynch, CVS is “reimagining CVS locations as health-care destinations.” She stated that one of the opportunities she sees is in mental health by connecting more people to social workers or therapists and treating it as an important component of overall wellness.
“Mental health is an unmet need, and it is clearly one of the pandemic’s biggest collateral damages,” she said.
CVS is attempting to drive more business by combining its numerous drugstores, pharmacy benefit manager Caremark, and insurance company Aetna.
The company recently announced new health products, subscription models, and home health care options.
It claims to be able to lower costs and improve the health of people with chronic conditions such as diabetes and congestive heart failure who have Aetna insurance and fill prescriptions at CVS pharmacies.
CVS Health, which operates approximately 10,000 retail locations, also plans to close hundreds of stores over the next three years as it adjusts to population shifts and customer needs.
Last month CVS announced that as part of its vision, it will close approximately 900 stores over the next three years, accounting for approximately 9% of the retailer’s total U.S. footprint.
It said that in the future, stores will have one of three formats, including two that put health-care services front and center, as well as traditional stores.
CVS Health isn’t the only company with ambitious goals. Walgreens and other health-care companies, such as UnitedHealth Group Inc., have also expanded their health-care offerings.
They’re all vying to become regular guides for customers navigating the complex U.S. health-care system.
Over the next few years, Walgreens, for example, plans to connect hundreds of VillageMD primary care practices to its stores.
Millions of aging baby boomers who will require more frequent care and have coverage through government-funded plans such as Medicare Advantage are a major target for this competition.
CVS Health is launching this initiative while also dealing with a staffing shortage in some of its pharmacies, which have seen waves of COVID-19 vaccinations and tests and may soon be handling pill treatments for the virus.