CVS to test stores with added health services early next year after Aetna deal closes

Health, Fitness & Food

Consumers will soon start to see CVS Health‘s vision for the future of health care.

CVS expects its roughly $69 billion acquisitionof health insurer Aetna to close before Thanksgiving, the company said Tuesday when announcing third-quarter financial results. The combined company has pledged to improve health services and outcomes and lower costs.

CVS plans to open its first concept stores early next year, CEO Larry Merlo told Wall Street analysts Tuesday. Merlo outlined areas CVS will focus on to reduce medical costs for the combined company once the deal closes.

Four examples Merlo outlined Tuesday include:

  • Managing five common chronic conditions — diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, asthma and behavioral health.
  • Optimizing and extending primary care, including to expand the scope of services available at CVS’ MinuteClinics to help identify and manage chronic diseases.
  • Reducing avoidable hospital readmissions by combining Aetna’s clinical programs with CVS’ stores to guide patients when they’re discharged.
  • Managing complex chronic diseases, such as kidney disease.

Merlo said CVS will pilot these programs at the concept stores to learn which programs are most effective and able to be scaled across CVS’ locations. The company currently operates about 10,000 stores and 1,100 MinuteClinics.

“We’re making the consumer experience, which will be in an increasingly important competitive differentiator, and we are hard at work creating a plan to differentiate CVS Health in these patient journeys with the goal of making them simpler and more personalized while making care more accessible,” Merlo said.

To start, CVS will focus on Aetna members, he said. Over time, though, Merlo said CVS’ goal is to create an open platform model where it can partner broadly.

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