CVS Health: Where it's been and where it's going

CVS is best known as a retail pharmacy, however, the company has expanded its scope in healthcare in recent years.

The company made headlines in 2018 when it acquired national insurance giant Aetna for $70 billion. 

"As the front door to quality healthcare, our combined company will have a community focus, engaging consumers with the care they need when and where they need it, will simplify a complicated system and will help people achieve better health at a lower cost," CVS Health President and CEO Larry Merlo said at the time. "We are also leading change in healthcare by challenging the status quo with new technologies, business models and partnerships."

When the deal closed, CVS said it planned to debut chronic disease management services, preventive health screenings and medical cost reduction programs. Its clinic service, MinuteClinic, had been accredited by The Joint Commission for the fifth consecutive time. MinuteClinic was the first retail clinic provider to earn accreditation from the organization in 2006. 

Also in 2018, the company launched a clinical trial for its first foray into the medical device market, an at-home hemodialysis device. 

In 2021, CVS had more than 40,000 physicians, pharmacists, nurses and nurse practitioners in its network, and said it planned to acquire more primary care practices and expand its specialty services. 

In 2022, the company solidified its place as a healthcare disruptor when it entered a deal to acquire home health company Signify Health for $8 billion in efforts to expand its value-based care offerings. That deal was finalized in March 2023, adding more than 10,000 clinicians to CVS' portfolio.

In February 2023, the company made good on its promise to pursue primary care when it acquired Oak Street Health for $10.6 billion. The Chicago-based primary care company manages a value-based primary care network with more than 160 clinics in 21 states. The deal, finalized in May, left ASC leaders, such as Suzi Cunningham, administrator of Advanced Ambulatory Surgery Center in Redlands, Calif., wary of the potential divestment of funds from other healthcare providers. 

"The CVS purchase of Oak Street will undoubtedly result in CVS seeking to extract $800 million in profits that were intended for healthcare services," she told Becker's. "This underscores the fundamental problem where there is now a very troublesome expansion of for-profit corporations looking at patients as sources of revenue and profit and not as humans in need of care."

CVS Health earned $324.16 billion in 2022, making it the second-largest healthcare company by revenue that year, according to the Fortune 500 yearly ranking. 

In 2023, the company launched virtual primary care and mental health services, as well as on-demand care options. It also debuted at-home colorectal disease screening tests in September through a partnership with Biomerica.

At the end of the year, it rebranded its healthcare services through its launch of CVS Healthspire, which includes Oak Street Health, Signify Health, MinuteClinics and its pharmacy benefit program Caremark.

Mike Pykosz, CEO of Oak Street Health and interim president of healthcare delivery, said the rebranding aims to deliver care in a "more integrated way."

Looking ahead, CVS Health hopes to fill primary care gaps caused by longer wait times and expand its specialty care offerings.

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