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CVS invests over $3M in organizations improving health outcomes in Phoenix

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WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health announced more than $3 million in new grants to support organizations in Phoenix working to increase equitable access to health care, address social determinants of health and educate the community on the effects of air pollution. This announcement was made during a Project Health event in Phoenix and included CVS Health leaders, community organizations and local officials.

“No two communities are the same,” said Sheryl Burke, Senior Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility and Chief Sustainability Officer at CVS Health. “That’s why we are constantly looking for ways to pull together all our community-based and sustainability efforts – like here in Phoenix – to make a meaningful impact and collaborate with organizations who know the community best to address the unique barriers to improving health outcomes. With nearly 12,000 employees working across the state who deliver care through 187 pharmacies, dozens of MinuteClinic®, specialty pharmacy and Oak Street Health® locations, and for a million Aetna® members, this is also a part of our continued work to invest in the communities where we live and work.”

Bridging a critical gap in the health care and social systems
With 65% of South Phoenix residents overweight or obese and knowing that 80% of health care costs are primarily due to preventable chronic diseases, CVS Health saw an opportunity to tailor its Health Zones initiative in Phoenix to address the high levels of diabetes and hypertension. The CVS Health Foundation is investing $2.1 million over three years between Valleywise HealthHome Assist Health and Advance to support integrated diabetes management services, including home health and monitoring, medically tailored food boxes and educational resources. By encouraging this more connected, coordinated use of resources between each Health Zone organization, the company aims to help simplify a complex care navigation process and bridge a critical gap in the health care and social systems.

“We believe that the right resources can transform health outcomes for individuals, families, and communities, greatly reducing or eliminating generational health inequities for improved quality of life for patients in the Greater South Phoenix community,” said Dr. Michelle Barker, Senior Vice President of Ambulatory Services and Chief Executive Officer of FQHC, Valleywise Health. “This visionary investment from CVS Health will allow our clinical teams and valued community partners, Home Assist Health and Advance, to wrap our arms around our most vulnerable patients and provide them with the care, education and resources they need to live healthy lives.”

Collaborating to educate the community about air pollution
One in three Americans lives in a community with unhealthy air levels, and Phoenix ranks among the most polluted cities in the U.S. for ozone and particulate pollution. Through a new collaboration with the American Lung Association, CVS Health is investing $3.5 million over four years nationwide to combat this health issue and will pilot it first in Phoenix. The company will distribute nearly $1 million of the $3.5 million project to support Phoenix health care providers and organizations working to expand educational resources, increase access to care and supportive services for individuals with lung disease and leverage local air quality data to raise awareness of where pollution is most concentrated. The Phoenix health care providers and organizations will be named in April.

“Every day, we work with people whose lung health has been impacted by climate change,” said Harold Wimmer, President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “It is critical to address this in the communities that are seeing the greatest impact, like Phoenix, and we’re thankful to be working with the CVS Health Foundation on this innovative project to improve the health of people in Phoenix who are living with lung disease.”

Increasing access to mental health and free screening services
CVS Health also recently awarded a $100,000 grant over two years to support the Phoenix Indian Center‘s efforts to fund its Suicide-Safer Communities project, which will expand its suicide prevention services for Native Americans living in Phoenix. As studies continue to show that suicide is among the leading causes of death in the United States, bolstering the Phoenix Indian Center’s efforts is part of the company’s continued commitment to supporting organizations that improve the quality and availability of mental health services in under-resourced communities.

In addition to these new grants, CVS Health will offer free health screenings to the Phoenix community through its Project Health program, starting in March. Project Health mobile unit events are hosted at CVS Pharmacy parking lots and a vast network of local organizations to help ensure transportation is not a barrier to receiving health services. They offer free biometric screenings, including blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose level and body mass index to detect early risks of chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. The screenings also offer a PHQ-2 assessment to help identify people who require additional evaluation for depression. All individuals have an on-site consult with a nurse practitioner and are provided a directory of local health care providers and resources. In 2023, CVS Health hosted 109 events in Phoenix and screened 2,814 participants, including 1,022 depression, 715 osteoporosis bone density, 581 mini-cognitive and 126 smoking cessation consultations. The full schedule of Project Health events can be found online.

“A person’s zip code shouldn’t determine how long they’ll live or whether they’ll develop preventable chronic diseases,” said Phoenix Councilwoman Laura Pastor. “That’s why I’m proud of the over $3 million investment CVS Health is making over the next three years to support diabetes management services and increase access to care and education for individuals with lung diseases throughout Phoenix. As someone who has always advocated for equitable access to health care, I am impressed by the commitment CVS Health continues to show the community by removing barriers and meeting people where they’re at to deliver health care.”


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