CVS launches social determinants of health platform

CVS Health has launched a new platform aimed at addressing social determinants of health, in collaboration with social care coordination platform Unite Us. The initiative is the first in a series of business programs to be announced by CVS Health targeting social determinants of health, which influence roughly 60% of a person’s life expectancy, the company said.

Under terms of the partnership, CVS and Unite Us will help some Aetna members who are Medicaid and dual eligible beneficiaries find better access to social services in their community.

The program will be available to Aetna Medicaid members in Louisville, Kentucky, during the second half of 2019, and open to dual eligible special needs plan members in Tampa and Southeastern Louisiana.

Aetna members chosen for the program can leverage the aggregated network of social care providers under Unite Us. They can also be referred to services by a community health provider or Aetna nurse case manager.

"Out of about 6,000 waking hours in a year, most people only spend a handful in a doctor's office or hospital––you spend the vast majority of your time in your community," Karen S. Lynch, executive vice president of CVS Health and president of Aetna, said in a statement. "CVS Health is a part of nearly 10,000 communities across the country, so by going beyond our significant philanthropic efforts and addressing social determinants of health through the products and programs our company develops, we have an unprecedented opportunity to improve the health of individuals and communities across America."

The announcement comes as CVS is still embroiled in a court review of its $69 billion acquisition of the nation’s third-largest health insurance provider, Aetna. The deal was approved by regulators and the Department of Justice and closed at the end of 2018, but a federal judge is still reviewing the deal for antitrust issues.

Part of the platform with Unite Us includes investments in CVS’ $100 million community commitment program called Building Healthier Communities.

"Our mission is to connect individuals and families across the United States to the services they need through collaboration with local service providers, shared infrastructure, and an inclusive approach for those in need," Taylor Justice, Unite Us co-founder and president, said in a statement. "Working with CVS Health, we will foster a community of care and a local support system to empower community members to make the most of the services available to them."