More coordinated health care experience will improve primary care for patients and providers.
WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health announced on Thursday the launch of CVS Health Virtual Primary Care, a new virtual care solution available through a single digital platform. The offering connects CVS Health’s services, clinical expertise, and data for a more coordinated and consumer-centric health care experience. Demonstrating CVS Health’s bold strategy to improve primary care, the new solution enables consumers to choose care when and where they want – in a retail or community-based setting, through at-home health services, or virtually.
The new offering, which is being sold to Aetna fully-insured, self-insured plan sponsors, and CVS Caremark clients now, will become effective for eligible Aetna members starting January 1, 2023, and for eligible CVS Caremark members during the second quarter of 2023. It complements Aetna’s virtual care strategy currently in market.
“We’re meeting people where they are on their health care journey and providing care that is more convenient and easier to access. When we make it simple, we can help people lead healthier lives,” said Creagh Milford, vice president, Enterprise Virtual Care, CVS Health.
CVS Health Virtual Primary Care will give members access to primary care, on-demand care, chronic condition management, and mental health services virtually, with the option of being seen in-person when needed at an in-network provider, including MinuteClinic. The virtual primary care provider can also help members identify appropriate in-network specialists and other in-network health service providers, if necessary.
On average, it takes 24 days to schedule an appointment with a primary care physician, and the average wait time to see a mental health provider in-person is 48 days.1,2 CVS Health Virtual Primary Care is designed to help members schedule timely virtual appointments with their Care Team.
CVS Health Virtual Primary Care will feature a member-selected physician-led Care Team that can consist of nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and licensed vocational nurses who can easily be accessed through the platform. The Care Team will consult with a dedicated CVS pharmacist when needed, which can provide opportunities for medication management. CVS Health Virtual Primary Care will also use an interoperable electronic health record that will help members transition between virtual and in-person care, and their clinical data can also be shared with their other providers. A comprehensive view of data and care activity will allow providers to deliver personalized health alerts that help close gaps in care and maintain wellness.
“By offering a connected care team where providers can easily exchange clinical information on behalf of their patients, and an extensive local footprint for in-person care follow-up, we’re able to provide consistent, high-quality care. This model shifts from reactive to proactive care that can ultimately improve outcomes and help lower costs,” said Dr. Milford.
Building on Virtual Care Offerings and Learnings
With the introduction of CVS Health Virtual Primary Care, Aetna is offering plan sponsors more benefit options to meet their member’s evolving needs. Additionally, Caremark members will now have a solution that will allow them to access more CVS Health services and capabilities. By combining health services, a coordinated Care Team and clinical data on a single digital platform, CVS Health Virtual Primary Care will help all members receive health guidance and care coordination that directs them to the lowest cost, clinically appropriate care.
CVS Health has a longstanding history with virtual care solutions. MinuteClinic, which began piloting telehealth services in 2015, offers virtual visits for on-demand general medical and limited mental health services. In addition, CVS Health has invested in the infrastructure to evolve the current MinuteClinic virtual care services to continue to provide an improved experience.
Aetna has provided virtual care solutions for the last decade and was the first to offer a nationwide virtual care solution that allows members to access primary care and other health services remotely and in person. Aetna virtual care solutions will continue to be an available option to Aetna plan sponsors. Caremark will introduce virtual specialty care solutions on the platform in 2023.