September 26, 2014

CVS Health announces new clinical affiliations with leading academic medical centers

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UAB clinical collaboration with CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic will increase access to care and help improve medication adherence for patients.

nurse patientCVS Health (NYSE: CVS) announced this week it has entered into new clinical affiliations with three leading academic medical centers to enhance access to high-quality, affordable health care services for patients. The collaborating medical centers include the University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System, University of Maryland Medical System and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Through these clinical affiliations the patients served by these medical centers will continue to have access to clinical support, medication counseling, chronic disease monitoring and wellness programs at CVS/pharmacy stores and MinuteClinic, the retail medical clinic division of CVS Health. In addition, CVS Health will provide critical prescription and visit information to the participating medical centers through the integration of secured electronic medical record (EMR) systems.

CVS/pharmacy currently has more than 7,700 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, there are 900 MinuteClinic walk-in medical clinics 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 and physician assistants 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 leading medical centers 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 Health. “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 health care providers at the participating medical centers will receive data on interventions conducted by CVS pharmacists to improve medication adherence for their patients. The affiliation also encourages collaboration between the health care providers and MinuteClinic providers to improve coordination of care for patients seen at MinuteClinic locations. Physicians affiliated with the participating medical centers will collaborate with MinuteClinic nurse practitioners and physician assistants 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 medical center 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.

UAB has implemented several initiatives to improve care and access to care, including UAB eMedicine, a UAB Medicine Urgent Care clinic, the myUABMedicine online patient portal, and interactive post-discharge phone calls and corresponding multimedia programs that encourage patients' additional learning about their health condition to improve care transitions and reduce readmission rates, and UAB Health System CEO Will Ferniany says the CVS Health partnership represents another important step.

“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 care providers 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 health care providers’ patient 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 medical centers 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 medical centers’ 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 care provider. MinuteClinic will continue its standard practice of sending patient visit summaries to primary care providers who are not affiliated with one of these participating medical centers via fax or mail, typically within 24 hours, with patient consent.

UAB Medicine comprises the School of Medicine and the $3 billion UAB Health System that includes 2,300 licensed beds in six hospitals, one of which is UAB Hospital — the third-largest public hospital in the United States, winner of the Women's Choice award, and one of U.S. News and World Report's Best Hospitals.

UAB has implemented several initiatives to improve care and access to care, including UAB eMedicine, a UAB Medicine Urgent Care clinic, the myUABMedicine online patient portal, and interactive post-discharge phone calls and corresponding multimedia programs that encourage patients' additional learning about their health condition to improve care transitions and reduce readmission rates, and UAB Health System CEO Will Ferniany says the CVS Health partnership represents another important step.

"As healthcare continues to change and evolve, the UAB Health System continually looks for ways to provide care to patients in different, convenient and cost effective ways," Ferniany said. "We are excited about the collaboration with CVS Health and the ability to tap into their experiences on a national scale to help continue UAB's role as a leader in healthcare delivery."

The new clinical affiliations announced here bring the total number of health system and health care provider affiliations for CVS Health and MinuteClinic to 44 major health systems and health care providers across the country.

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