CVS Health has established a path into primary care services


CVS Health is launching a program to use telemedicine, new clinics and teams of doctors, nurses and pharmacists to manage customer health more deeply.

The healthcare giant outlined a future on Thursday in which it hopes to provide healthcare services by providing a combination of resources it considers unique. The company operates thousands of pharmacies, manages prescription benefits, sells health insurance, and expands the scope of care.

“We are closer to consumers than anyone else,” CEO Karen Lynch told analysts in a webcast of the company’s annual investor conference.

The company said it intends to add hundreds of primary care centers to the combination of pharmacies and “HealthHUB” locations that it introduced a few years ago. The company’s goal is to open approximately 1,000 HealthHUBs this year. These locations can include regular pharmacy services and staff such as dietitians.

These clinics will include a care team led by a doctor, which may also include social workers and mental health experts.

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The goal of this approach is to make it easier for customers to stay healthy and to maintain regular contact with different care providers based on their needs. This can reduce costs and improve health, especially for people with chronic diseases or those without a regular doctor.

Lynch said on Thursday that primary care accounts for only about 10% of national health care expenditures, but “it has a significant impact on the use of health care.”

She told analysts last month that company leaders believe they need to “advance primary care so that we can influence overall health care costs.”

CVS Health’s ambitions are not alone. Other healthcare companies such as pharmacy rivals Walgreens and UnitedHealth Group Inc. also provide healthcare services in greater depth. They are all competing to become customers’ regular guides through the complex American care system.

For example, Walgreens will attach hundreds of VillageMD primary care practices to its stores in the next few years.

An important goal of this game: the millions of older baby boomers who need more regular care and are covered by government-funded programs such as Medicare Advantage.

CVS Health is launching this initiative, and it is also solving the shortage of staff in some of its pharmacies, which have seen waves of COVID-19 vaccination and testing, and may soon deal with pill treatments for the virus.

The company said it has hired approximately 23,000 employees in an initiative it started in September. About half of them are pharmacy technicians who can provide vaccines.

CVS Health has approximately 10,000 retail locations and plans to close hundreds of stores in the next three years to adapt to demographic changes and customer needs.

On Thursday, the company also stated that it will raise its annual dividend by 10% from $2 to $2.20 starting in February. The company also approved a $10 billion stock repurchase program and said this is the first time CVS Health has taken any action in about four years.

CVS Health also stated that it expects adjusted earnings per share next year to be US$8.10 to US$8.30, and total revenue is US$304 billion to US$309 billion.

According to FactSet’s data, analysts on average expect 2022 earnings per share to be 8.24 U.S. dollars and sales of 301.2 billion U.S. dollars.

Shares of Rhode Island-based CVS Health Corp.’s Woonsocket rose nearly 4% to $96.75, while the broader index fell in midday trading on Thursday.



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