CVS Prepares to Launch Behavioral Pilot in 34 New Locations

Pharmacy giant CVS (NYSE: CVS) is releasing more details about the behavioral pilot program it’s rolling out at select HealthHUB locations.

Behavioral Health Business first highlighted the pilot in mid-March, shortly after CVS released its annual Health Trends Report and highlighted the ongoing mental health crisis as a factor likely to define health care in 2021.

In a video accompanying the report, Cara McNulty, the president of the Aetna Behavioral Health and Employee Assistance Program, mentioned the new program, though she stopped short of providing many details. However, in a recent interview with HealthPayerIntelligence, an online publication covering the nation’s top payers, she shared some specifics.

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“We have put licensed clinical social workers at these locations and those social workers are there to help provide mental health assessment, referrals, counseling, [and] help you develop a personalized care plan,” McNulty told the online publication.

The new behavioral health pilot is currently up and running at a dozen HealthHUB locations in Houston, Philadelphia, and Tampa, Florida, she said. Plus, CVS also has plans to launch in 34 more across the country this spring.

Both insured and uninsured patients can access social workers through the pilot program. Those clinicians can help insured patients find additional assistance through their insurance and connect uninsured patients with community resources.

HealthHUBs are working in partnership with CVS’s other in-store service, MinuteClinic, to make the pilot possible. HealthHUBs provide customers with care concierge services such as chronic disease management and other primary and preventive care services.

CVS and Aetna, which it purchased in 2018, began opening HealthHUBs in 2019. At the time, CVS said that it had planned to have 1,500 HealthHUB locations in operation by the end of 2021. It is currently unclear how many of those HealthHUBs will house the behavioral health pilot program before the close of this year.

“It’s really important that we continue the conversation around mental health and well-being [and] that we continue to reduce stigma so that people aren’t afraid to seek care,” McNulty said in a company video earlier this year.

Currently, the pilot program’s services are provided in-person at the select HealthHUB locations. McNulty, however, told HealthPayerIntelligence that CVS is considering adding virtual services.

“Right now, this is an in-person service, but we are building out the exact care to be virtual as well because, with the pandemic, not everybody wants to come into a HealthHUB,” McNulty told the publication. “We’ve had an unbelievable increase in the utilization of our virtual care offerings. So we’re building this both for brick and mortar, in-person care and virtual care, to meet the needs of the consumers and patients.”

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