CVS flexes healthcare muscles

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — The news that CVS Caremark's Pharmacy Advisor program has been recognized by the Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute is yet one more illustration of how the company has positioned itself along the front lines to leverage its various points of care to improve outcomes and lower healthcare costs.

(THE NEWS: CVS Caremark saluted for Pharmacy Advisor program. For the full story, click here)

The program integrates the benefits of the PBM and the retail pharmacy to identify and counsel members about gaps in care and adherence issues. Member outreach includes educational information, pharmacist-initiated phone calls or face-to-face counseling with a pharmacist at a local CVS/pharmacy.

Identifying gaps in care and improving medication adherence clearly has been a significant focus for the company, and understandably so when looking at the stats: Nonadherence to medications costs the healthcare system up to $290 billion a year because many of the hospitalizations can be avoided if people take prescriptions as doctors direct.

Furthermore, the findings of a CVS Caremark study issued earlier this year found that patients with one or more of four chronic diseases who take medications as doctors direct may save the healthcare system as much as $7,800 per patient annually. The study findings revealed robust reductions in ER visits and in-patient hospital days from medication adherence, and by avoiding those costly events, there were substantial savings in overall health care costs.

Through such initiatives as its Pharmacy Advisor program, CVS Caremark continues to demonstrate the important role that retail pharmacy plays in U.S. health care.

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