CVS Health is embarking on a collaboration with Uber Health, Uber's healthcare arm, to provide critical transportation support at no cost to people who need it most when seeking access to medical care, work or educational programs.
The relationship is part of Health Zones, CVS Health's new initiative that provides concentrated local investments designed to reduce health disparities and advance health equity in high-risk communities across the country. Health Zones is an integrated approach to addressing six key social determinants of health: housing, education, access to food, labor, transportation, and health care access.
The Health Zones initiative is now active in five markets nationwide: Atlanta, Ga.; Columbus, Ohio; Fresno, Calif.; Hartford, Conn.; and Phoenix, Ariz. with plans to expand into more cities later this year. Working with trusted national and local partners, CVS Health is addressing community health care needs, ensuring at-risk communities have access to resources and opportunities that can help them thrive.
CVS Health and Uber Health will help eliminate a critical barrier to care and overall well-being – transportation – which can limit a person's ability to receive medical care, to get to work or to job trainings and can ultimately lead to adverse health outcomes. Rides with Uber Health will be available to a target population living in three of the five Health Zones: Atlanta, Ga.; Columbus, Ohio; and Hartford, Conn. with plans to enter additional cities later this year.
"Our Health Zones initiative allows us to make a real impact on the health of communities across the country by working closely with organizations that share our commitment to addressing social determinants of health," said Eileen Howard Boone, senior vice president of corporate social responsibility and philanthropy and chief sustainability officer, CVS Health. "With the Uber Health platform, we'll provide critical transportation to people within communities who need it most, giving them access to health care services so they can live healthier lives and to jobs and educational programs that can help them reach their full potential."
For Uber Health, the relationship with CVS Health is a natural extension of its broader commitment to improving population health care management, so more people can achieve and maintain healthy lifestyles. Its HIPAA-supported solution is utilized by more than 2,000 health care organizations across the U.S.
"We've long known that access to reliable transportation can help address critical gaps in care that often disproportionately affect vulnerable communities. With the past two years of the pandemic only further highlighting today's health inequities, it's more important than ever for communities to have the tools they need to bridge care gaps and achieve better patient and population health outcomes," said Caitlin Donovan, global head of Uber Health. "Uber Health is proud to be a part of CVS Health's new Health Zones initiative and encourages community organizations to address transportation as a key social determinant of health, while improving health outcomes in a scalable way."
Health Zones is part of CVS Health's overall commitment to advance health equity in America. In 2021, CVS Health invested $185 million in affordable housing nationwide and $1.3 billion over the past 20 years. Through these investments, CVS Health has been able to provide underserved communities with quality housing, economic support, and educational training opportunities based on the unique needs of the population.
CVS Health noted that it continues to help ensure equitable access to COVID-19 testing and vaccinations across the country.
Approximately 40% of vaccines have been provided to underserved communities and more than 50% of CVS Health's testing sites have also supported these communities, the company said.