WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health unveiled a new health-focused store concept in Houston, which is designed to help position it as more of a health care provider. CVS opened three of the new concept stores, called HealthHUBs, in greater Houston in December. They are part the company’s vision in the wake of its $70 billion acquisition of health insurer Aetna. In addition to pharmacy, each store has an expanded health clinic, with a lab for blood testing and screenings. There are also wellness rooms for yoga and seminars, dietitians and respiratory specialists.
“We have a sense of urgency about the need to bring real change to health care,” said Kevin Hourican, executive vice president at CVS Health and president of CVS Pharmacy. “What’s clear to us is that it will take more than incremental steps to fix what is broken in the health care system. That’s why we’re excited about how the combination of CVS and Aetna can begin to establish an innovative health care model that will create an entirely new consumer experience and help people on their path to better health.”
The new stores, according to Hourican, will have less space dedicated to greeting cards, seasonal items and general merchandise. Though customers can still find toys, chocolate, ice cream and alcohol in the HealthHUBs, the stores contain more health-focused products, including durable medical equipment and supplies for asthma, diabetes care and sleep apnea.
More than 20% of the floor space at the concept stores is devoted to health care services, including wellness products and personalized care. Pharmacists in the HealthHUB stores will make regular calls and in-person consultations with certain patients to help them stay on track with their prescription drug plans.
While in the stores, consumers will also be able to check their blood pressure, weight and body mass index at various kiosks, and they will have the opportunity to consult with a dietitian, who can connect them to Noom, an online weight loss service.
“We believe that transforming the consumer health care experience begins with creating a new front door to health care,” said Dr. Alan Lotvin, chief transformation officer at CVS Health. “Our new HealthHUB locations are just that — helping to elevate the store into a convenient neighborhood health care destination that brings easier access to better care at a lower cost.”
In other CVS Health news, the company posted stronger-than-expected fourth quarter earnings for the three months ended in December. The adjusted earnings came in at $2.14 per share, up 11.5% from the same period last year and firmly ahead of analysts projections of $2.05 per share. Group revenues rose 12.5% to $54.42 billion, a figure that fell modestly shy of the consensus estimate of $54.58 billion. CVS also said it took a $2.2 billion goodwill impairment charge linked to its long-term care (LTC) business.
“2018 was a milestone year for CVS Health, as we successfully completed our transformational merger with Aetna, began effective implementation of our integration strategy, and took important steps toward building the integrated health care model that will bring substantial value to our various stakeholders. We had strong financial performance and delivered on our operating expectations,” said Larry Merlo, president and chief executive officer of CVS Health.
Merlo added that the completion of the Aetna acquisition has set the stage for CVS Health to excel in a market that is rapidly transforming. “We strongly believe in the long-term value that the full breadth of our capabilities can provide. Our unique combination will drive above-market growth going forward across all of the enterprise. Maintaining our focus on community-level products and services will drive meaningful value for both consumers and payors, while improving our bottom line and the value we return to shareholders,” he added. “Ultimately, our open platform model allows us to meet the needs of all payors with newly created products and services. We’re more excited than ever about the opportunities that lie ahead.”
As a result of the acquisition of Aetna, which closed November 28, the company established a new Health Care Benefits segment, which is the equivalent of the former Aetna Health Care segment. Certain aspects of Aetna’s operations, including products for which the company no longer solicits or accepts new customers, such as large case pensions and long-term care products, are included in the company’s Corporate/Other segment.
Merlo said that 2019 will be a year of transition for CVS as it integrates with Aetna and focuses on “key pillars of our growth strategy.”