CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) has completed 8 million virtual visits for behavioral health care during 2021, the company disclosed last week during its Investor Day conference.
Investor Day took place as the company also recently announced plans to close around 900 stores – around 10% of its physical locations – over the next few years to focus more on virtual offerings.
Earlier this year, CVS began a HealthHUB behavioral health pilot program at a dozen of its stores throughout the country, with more being eyed for on-location behavioral health services over time.
CVS originally debuted HealthHUB in 2019 at a number of its stores to provide wellness services to customers. Despite the impending closures of around 900 stores, CVS is planning to add more HealthHUBs nationwide, which might indicate the possibility of the behavioral health pilot program expanding as planned.
Late last month, a CVS spokeswoman told Behavioral Health Business that the company did not have any specifics to share as to how the store closures might impact behavioral health services. However, insight on CVS’s future plans for behavioral health might have been provided earlier this year by Cara McNulty, who is the president of behavioral health and employee assistance programs for the insurer Aetna, a division of CVS.
“You’ll continue to see us advancing our mental health efforts, right alongside with our physical health efforts, and you’ll see them hand-in-hand,” McNulty told BHB in April.
In regards to behavioral health services being offered in conjunction with primary care at HealthHUBS, McNulty also talked of how important the undertaking was for both the company and her.
“I have been working on this initiative with my team for over two years, and we brought it to life in order to … democratize access [to mental health care],” McNulty said to BHB at the time.
Back at Investor Day, executives talked about ways to improve the primary care experience for CVS customers, which include comprehensive care services, creating a senior-friendly approach to care delivery and leveraging technological capabilities.
Within the company’s goal of improving primary care is addressing the behavioral needs of customers.
“I think it’s really important that we want to elevate the social and behavioral determinants of health on par with physical [health],” Alan Lotvin, an executive vice president and president of pharmacy services for CVS Health, said during the event. “That’s part of that operational discipline of understanding the true root cause of any adverse health outcome.”