WOONSOCKET, R.I., May 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS) announced today it has entered into new clinical affiliations with four major regional health systems to enhance access to high-quality, affordable health care services for patients. The collaborating health systems include Hartford HealthCare in Connecticut; Memorial Health in Georgia, and Lahey Health and Baystate Health in Massachusetts. Through these clinical affiliations the patients of these health systems will receive access to clinical support, medication counseling, chronic disease monitoring, and wellness programs at CVS/pharmacy stores and MinuteClinic, the retail health care division of CVS Caremark. In addition, CVS Caremark will provide critical prescription and visit information to those health systems through the integration of secured electronic medical record (EMR) systems.
CVS/pharmacy currently has more than 7,600 retail pharmacy locations across the U.S. where CVS pharmacists provide counseling to patients to help them be adherent to their chronic disease medications. Of the total retail pharmacy locations, more than 800 MinuteClinic walk-in medical clinics are available. MinuteClinic locations are open seven days a week, offering evening hours with no appointment necessary and most health insurance is accepted. The clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners who provide treatment for common family illnesses and administer wellness and prevention services, including health-condition monitoring for patients with chronic diseases.
"We look forward to working with these health systems to develop collaborative programs that improve patient outcomes, lower costs and help people on their path to better health," said Troyen A. Brennan, MD, Chief Medical Officer, CVS Caremark. "Through these clinical affiliations, we will also be integrating our electronic medical records and information systems to enable us to support patients with medication counseling and chronic disease monitoring."
The participating health systems will receive data on interventions conducted by CVS pharmacists to improve medication adherence for their patients. The affiliation also encourages collaboration between the health systems and MinuteClinic providers to improve coordination of care for patients seen at MinuteClinic locations. Physicians affiliated with the participating health systems will collaborate with MinuteClinic nurse practitioners to work closely on joint clinical programs and care coordination activities. If more comprehensive care is needed, patients can follow up with their primary care provider and have access to the services at the health system as appropriate. For those patients who do not have regular access to health care, MinuteClinic provides assistance in finding a primary care physician and a greater opportunity for continuity of health care services.
"Finding cost-effective ways to increase access to care continues to be important, especially in this era of health care reform, and we are pleased to work together with these health systems to help coordinate comprehensive care for their patients," said Dr. Brennan. "Many patients rely on their local pharmacist for information and support regarding their prescription medications and these affiliations enable CVS pharmacists to help improve affiliated systems' patients' health outcomes through better medication adherence. MinuteClinic also plays an important role by providing patients with timely, affordable and high-quality walk-in health care."
MinuteClinic, CVS/pharmacy and the participating health systems will begin to work toward integrating EMR systems to streamline communication around all aspects of each individual patient's care. This integration will include the electronic sharing of messages and alerts from CVS/pharmacy to the health system physicians regarding potential medication non-adherence issues. In addition, MinuteClinic will electronically share medical histories and visit summaries with the patient's primary care provider when they are a member of a participating health system. MinuteClinic will continue its standard practice of sending patient visit summaries to primary care providers who are not affiliated with one of these participating health systems via fax or mail, typically within 24 hours, with patient consent.
The new clinical affiliations announced here bring the total number of health system affiliations for CVS Caremark and MinuteClinic to 36 major health systems across the country. These four new affiliations represent the first to include clinical collaborations with MinuteClinic combined with data on interventions performed by CVS pharmacists.