CVS Health Bolsters Opioid Initiative With New Social Care Coordination Element

CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) is expanding its efforts to fight the opioid epidemic and will make social determinants of health a bigger part of the equation.

The Woonsocket, Rhode Island-based pharmacy and health care company is partnering with social care coordination company Unite Us to expand the resources of CVS’s program aimed at combating opioid use disorder (OUD). The program is called Guardian Angel and is operated by CVS’s managed health care subsidiary, Aetna.

Under the partnership, New York City-based Unite Us — which helps providers connect with community-based organizations for patient referrals and tracking services to address social determinants of health — will bring its technological platform to the Guardian Angel program in North Carolina.

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The Guardian Angel program connects members who recently experienced an opioid overdose with Aetna-affiliated clinicians who provide mental health assessments, help in locating in-network care, resources on medication assisted treatment (MAT) and other assistance.

As a result of the partnership, Unite Us will also connect those in the Guardian Angel program in North Carolina to non-clinical community resources to help them identify food security, financial support and housing assistance.

“We recognize that whether a person is successfully able to fight addiction is not solely determined by the medical treatment that they receive,” Daniel Knecht, CVS Health’s vice president of health strategy and innovation, said in a press release announcing the news. “Through the Unite Us network of social care providers, people can more easily access support within their community and have a better chance of recovery.”

Aetna created the Guardian Angel program in 2018. Unite Us was founded in 2013 initially as a provider of social services and health care services to the military population.

Unite Us has raised more than $45 million in funding, according to the fundraising tracker Crunchbase.

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