In a move to support its primary care strategy and in an apparent response to competitors like Walgreens and Walmart, CVS Health says it will accelerate its acquisition of physician practices and clinics.
The retailer will add physician-led primary care centers with virtual care and home assets to several hundred of its stores. Acquiring physicians also aligns with CVS’ Aetna insurance arm and it also will integrate primary care services with its pharmacy benefits plans, a company official said during a recent investors’ day conference.
The aim is to shift from episodic care provided by nurses and physician assistants at its MinuteClinics, drug stores and HealthHub locations to a more longitudinal care approach, Alan Lotvin, M.D., CVS Health’s executive vice president of pharmacy services, said during the event. The company also hopes to drive greater consumer engagement and become a health care destination of choice.
The physician-led care teams may also include such ancillary staff as health coaches, social workers or mental health professionals.
Adding primary care physicians to its health care offerings also will help CVS compete with Walgreens, which earlier this year invested another $5.2 billion in VillageMD to staff clinics adjacent to some of its stores with physicians.