CVS Caremark awards more than $1M in 'Innovations in Community Health' grants

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — The CVS Caremark Charitable Trust, a private foundation created by CVS Caremark Corporation has announced the recipients of the “Innovations in Community Health” grants, which have been awarded to community health centers nationwide through a partnership with the National Association of Community Health Centers.

The grants will help community health centers increase access to health care and produce better health outcomes while reducing costs for patients and healthcare systems.

The grants, which total more than $1 million, have been awarded to 21 community health centers to support the development of innovative, community-based programs and initiatives that focus on the treatment and management of chronic illnesses, specifically heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and asthma.

“Chronic diseases impact everyone and the number of people living with a chronic disease is expected to increase over the next decade. The results from the ‘Chronic Disease Awareness Survey’ show that many of us do not know the contributors of the most common chronic diseases,” stated Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark. “Community health centers play a critical role in both helping to educate the public on health-related issues and increasing access to high quality healthcare services that can help manage and prevent chronic diseases.”

More than half of Americans suffer from one or more chronic diseases every year and chronic diseases are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. The newly released “CVS Caremark Chronic Disease Awareness Survey” reveals the public’s misconception and understanding of chronic diseases, with the majority of respondents admitting that they are not doing as much as they could to stay healthy. Twenty-eight percent of respondents think there is little they can do to prevent most chronic diseases, yet modifiable health risk behaviors, including lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption, contribute most to the exacerbation of chronic diseases. Additional insights include:

  • Nearly 40% of people think what they eat has little to do with whether they get a chronic disease; and
  • Approximately 32% of people think smoking does not have an effect on chronic diseases beyond lung cancer.

The survey also showed that while a majority of people agree that reducing stress, exercising, improving their diet or regularly visiting a doctor can help prevent chronic diseases, more than half of people admit they are not doing much to prevent them.  

  • Sixty percent of respondents are aware they should take steps to reduce stress in their daily lives but do not;
  • Nearly 65% of people are aware they should exercise regularly, but they do not; and
  • More than half of people admit they do not take the steps they should to improve their diet.

“Through our partnership with NACHC, we are providing much-needed funding to support affordable community-based healthcare models that are producing innovative programming in the area of chronic disease management,” added Eileen Howard Boone, president of CVS Caremark Charitable Trust. “The programs will use a variety of methods to help people manage their chronic disease and improve health outcomes — including the use of tele-medicine, nurse practitioners to monitor at-risk patients and wellness circles that bring people together who are living with and working to manage the same chronic disease.”

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