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Lehigh Valley Health Network, CVS in community initiative

Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) has announced a five-year strategic affiliation with CVS Health with the goal of increasing community-level health initiatives, co-branding preventive care programs and the secured sharing of clinical data via electronic health records (EHR) to benefit patients and customers.

This latest agreement strengthens an earlier clinical affiliation between LVHN and CVS Health that began in 2015. The new agreement focuses on each organization’s commitment to population health management, which uses data to identify patients with potential health challenges and provide them with new levels of proactive care to improve their health and stem the likelihood of developing more serious conditions that can impact both quality of life and care costs.

“CVS Health has proven to be a productive partner in multiple programs to improve the health of populations in the communities that we both serve,” said Brian Nester, DO, MBA, FACOEP, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN).

“We are now taking this strategic alliance to the next level. By combining our competencies and commitment to community health, we are well-positioned to achieve unprecedented degrees of consumer engagement, innovation and value-based care,” Nester said.

CVS Health is pioneering a new approach to health by making quality care more affordable, accessible, simple and seamless. The company has more than 150 retail locations and pharmacy cae services within the LVHN geographic service area. Nester said joint cooperation under the new agreement on key programs already began prior to its signing and will continue to expand.

These areas include:

Breast cancer: LVHN’s Mobile Mammography Coach, a mobile mammography screening center, was available at four CVS locations and conducted screenings. Positioned in the CVS Pharmacy parking lots, the Mammography Coach provides convenient access for clinical diagnosis and education.

Opioid crisis: In Schuylkill and Carbon counties, training was conducted at several CVS Pharmacy locations by LVHN clinicians in the use of Naloxone, the lifesaving emergency medication for opioid overdoses. More than 75 have attended the confidential training sessions thus far and additional community-level training sessions are scheduled for 2019-20.

Prescription drug abuse: For the past two years, LVHN and CVS Health combined to collect and safely dispose of unwanted prescription drugs at CVS store locations as part of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. CVS also has safe medication disposal units in pharmacies across the country. They have collected more than 715,000 pounds of unwanted medication that might have been misused or flushed, polluting local water supplies.

Substance Abuse Recovery: In May 2019, LVHN and CVS Health teamed up for a dual presence at “Rally In The Valley,” a community event held at SteelStacks, Bethlehem, to support those recovering from alcohol and drug abuse, and to provide the clinical gateways for active substance abusers to seek recovery. LVHN clinicians and CVS Health staffers provided Naloxone training, promoted a co-branded “Stamp Out Stigma” awareness campaign with educational materials, giveaways and pledge cards that were distributed to the 3,000 attendees at the event.

According to Debbie Salas-Lopez, MD, LVHN’s Chief Transformation Officer, connecting the dots between the patient, pharmacy, physician and health network resources also will enhance the ability of the health network and CVS Health to close gaps in patient care and reduce unnecessary hospital visits.

“Both are major contributors to the rising costs of healthcare, but they do not deliver real value or support our fundamental goals of increasing access to quality care, delivering better health outcomes and lowering overall health costs,” Salas-Lopez said.

“We are pleased to continue this important work with Lehigh Valley Health Network to enhance access to patient care, improve health outcomes and lower health care costs,” said Robert Brooks, senior vice president of Health System Alliances, CVS Health.

“Together, we are bringing our expertise and care to local communities throughout the Lehigh Valley region to help tackle major public health challenges and enable continuity across the health care continuum for the patients we collectively serve,” Brooks said.