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New purpose statement apt for an evolving CVS

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As it rose to become the nation’s largest health care provider and fourth-biggest company of any kind, CVS Health benefitted from a clear, concise raison d’être: “Helping people on their path to better health.” Those eight words encapsulated the overarching objective of an organization with deep roots in community pharmacy, which over the past 15 years has diversified its business to include a PBM, a provider of long-term care pharmacy services and a health insurer.

The purpose statement made it immediately evident to people at all levels of the company just what CVS Health was all about. It also served as a lens for members of top management as they grappled with difficult decisions related to extending the continuum of health care in order to expand access, improve patient outcomes and reduce overall costs, as well as ending tobacco sales in its drug stores and reorienting the front-end mix toward more healthful products.

Earlier this month CVS Health updated its purpose statement to read: “Bringing our heart to every moment of your health.” The revision of what people both inside and outside the company frequently referred to as one of the best affirmations of its kind — one that served as a model for other organizations — is noteworthy.

The statement reflects CVS Health’s growing scope. In addition to touching the lives of millions of patients every day through its network of store-based pharmacies, MinuteClinics and HealthHUBs; Caremark PBM; and Aetna insurance business, the company is stepping up its involvement in public health and the social determinants that shape it.

“Bringing our heart to every moment” is the core of the new avowal. It commits CVS Health, which generated revenue of $269 billion last year, to see the people its serves as individuals, pledging, in the words of president and chief executive officer Karen Lynch, to “put personalization at the forefront of all that we do.”

This current iteration serves to remind everyone in the organization that — big as the business of health care is — effective treatment is delivered one provider to one patient at a time. Lynch understands that if CVS is to succeed in making health care in America more efficient and effective, it must bring its scale, diversified assets and expertise to bear on specific needs. Putting patients squarely at the center of the company’s mission is the necessary first step.


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