WOONSOCKET, R.I., Aug. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius visited a CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic in Jacksonville, Florida to highlight new benefits and options for Medicare beneficiaries that will help them stay healthier. These services include a free Annual Wellness Visit, allowing patients to meet with their doctor and discuss health concerns and the best ways to stay healthy, as well as a wide variety of preventive tests and screenings, most at no cost to patients.
"CVS Caremark and our other pharmacy partners are helping its customers make informed health care decisions," Secretary Sebelius said. "These partnerships will help people with Medicare learn more about new preventive services such as mammograms, and the new Annual Wellness visit that are available at no charge for everyone with Medicare."
CVS Caremark and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have teamed up to increase awareness of the new services available under the Affordable Care Act. Through a partnership, CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations provided materials and information about new preventive services and savings available for Medicare patients. CMS and CVS Caremark also promoted the Medicare Part D donut hole drug discount. In 2012, if a patient reaches the Medicare Part D donut hole (or coverage gap), they will receive a 50 percent discount on covered brand-name drugs. Over the next 10 years, Medicare patients will receive additional drug savings until the coverage gap is closed in 2020.
As part of this education and outreach, CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic distributed 750,000 brochures and printed 30 million messages on register receipts for customers over age 65. In addition, there were 1.4 million visits to the information on the CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic websites and another 100,000 impressions on the CVS/pharmacy Facebook page.
"CVS Caremark is committed to helping people on their path to better health by providing expert guidance, new solutions to reduce health care costs and more convenient access to pharmacists, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, who are important advocates and trusted advisors for consumers," said Helena Foulkes, Executive Vice President and Chief Health Care Strategy and Marketing Officer for CVS Caremark. "We were very happy to have Secretary Sebelius see for herself the vital role CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic play in putting quality health care right around the corner for millions of Americans."
CVS pharmacists are highly accessible health care professionals who can counsel patients on the role of medications in treating their health conditions and the importance of staying on prescription therapies to improve their health. This is especially important for older patients who take two to three times as many prescription medications as those under 65. A pharmacist in a face-to-face setting is the most effective health care professional at encouraging patients to take medications as prescribed.
During her visit, the Secretary also stopped by the MinuteClinic for a blood pressure monitoring visit to illustrate the importance of preventive services in staying healthy. MinuteClinic is the walk-in medical clinic inside CVS/pharmacy. MinuteClinic is staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants who provide treatment for common family illnesses and injuries, administer vaccinations, conduct physicals and wellness screenings, and offer monitoring for chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
"We have a number of screening programs available to help Americans reduce high blood pressure and are focusing our efforts on improving the identification, treatment and management of high blood pressure," said Paulette Thabault ANP-BC, JD,CNPO, Chief Nurse Practitioner Officer, MinuteClinic, who greeted Secretary Sebelius. "Knowing whether you have hypertension and how to properly manage this health condition, including important lifestyle modifications, is the first step in reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke."
CVS Caremark is exploring future collaboration opportunities with CMS that could include training and educational counseling as well as outreach and distribution of promotional materials.
About CVS Caremark CVS Caremark is dedicated to helping people on their path to better health as the largest integrated pharmacy company in the United States. Through the company's more than 7,300 CVS/pharmacy stores; its leading pharmacy benefit manager serving more than 60 million plan members; and its retail health clinic system, the largest in the nation with more than 600 MinuteClinic locations, it is a market leader in mail order, retail and specialty pharmacy, retail clinics, and Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans. As a pharmacy innovation company with an unmatched breadth of capabilities, CVS Caremark continually strives to improve health and lower costs by developing new approaches such as its unique Pharmacy Advisor program that helps people with chronic diseases such as diabetes obtain and stay on their medications. Find more information about how CVS Caremark is reinventing pharmacy for better health at info.cvscaremark.com.