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CVS Health goes deeper into consumer-centric care by opening another 1,500 HealthHubs

CVS's more than 9,900 retail locations are within three miles of about 70 percent of the U.S. population.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

As CVS Health and Aetna go through court proceedings to get a federal  judge's approval for their already-closed $69 billion merger, CVS has announced plans to dive deeper into consumer-centric healthcare by opening another 1,500 HealthHubs by the end of 2021.

The company will open additional HealthHUBs in Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia/Southern New Jersey and Tampa this year. CVS had previously opened a concept storefront HealthHub for retail healthcare services in Houston.

IMPACT

The plan is to make CVS the most consumer-centric healthcare company, presumably in the nation, according to the company's Investor Day release on Tuesday.

CVS said its more than 9,900 retail locations are within three miles of about 70 percent of the U.S. population.

While a CVS Health executive said last year that CVS is not there to take patients away from primary care, the convenience of the HealthHubs is expected to be one driver of company growth.

Growth drivers include chronic disease management and medical cost savings, in part through its integration with Aetna. Chronic conditions represented a $50 billion spend by Aetna members in 2017.

CVS Health's integration with Aetna is projected to drive $300- $350 million in synergies in 2019 and an estimated $800 million in 2020, the company said.

After its merger with Aetna last year, CVS Health's 2019 profits declined.

CEO Larry J. Merlo and CFO Eva Boratto said Tuesday they expect financial growth ahead.

CVS plans to capitalize on benefit design and reimbursement models and will optimize government programs, the company said. It will build a robust technology infrastructure and will deploy the data across the organization to create a holistic view of the patient.

TREND

CVS already has over 1,100 MinuteClinic locations. New services include sleep apnea screening, retina evaluations, and phlebotomy, according to Tuesday's release.

CVS faces competition from other pharmacy retailers, such as Walgreens Boots Alliance, which is adding similar health centers.

CVS Health serves an estimated 38 million people through health insurance products and related services, including a Medicare Advantage offering and a  standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.

Aetna divested of its Medicare Part D plan to satisfy a Department of Justice settlement agreement for the merger.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon is reviewing the terms of the settlement agreement through witness testimony that began Tuesday.

ON THE RECORD

"Our goal is to fundamentally transform the consumer health experience for the millions of Americans we interact with every day, while creating value for our patients, members, partners, and shareholders," said CEO and President Larry J. Merlo. "We have combined with Aetna to build a powerful and unique business model that will guide our journey to becoming the most consumer-centric health company."

"We are continuing to drive significant synergies and cost savings across the entire enterprise as we execute our integration plans," CFO Eva Boratto said. "Going forward, we also have truly exciting opportunities to introduce programs and products that will change the way people think of and address their health."

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Email the writer: susan.morse@himssmedia.com