CVS Aetna testing social determinants of health with Medicaid HealthTag pilot

The meshing of payer, retail, and service enhancements to improve health outcomes is the aim of CVS Aetna’s HealthTag pilot in Louisiana and West Virginia. It’s not terribly complicated. Aetna Medicaid (state health program) members picking up their prescriptions at CVS pharmacies will receive tucked into their prescription bag information on social and community services that may be useful to them, services such as food, housing, and transportation. An outside organization, Unite Us, is the resource for these social care programs. 

HealthTag is part of a broader and older ongoing program, Destination: Health [TTA 27 July 19] with Unite Us and a five-year affordable housing initiative. Unite Us’ community organizations had to do quite a bit of adjusting to virtual assistance from in-person after the pandemic hit. R.J. Briscione, senior director for social determinants of health (SDOH) strategy at CVS Health, told Fierce Healthcare that the objective of the “program is designed to identify Aetna Medicaid members who could use additional interventions to address their social needs, but who might otherwise not receive those potential services.” The pharmacy is a logical place as the members may have frequent interactions with their pharmacists for medications. (What is not said that frequent medication use is a leading indicator of multiple chronic conditions which may be mitigated by improvements in food sources, housing, and transportation to work and doctors, and possibly reducing cost.) 

Unite Us is also working with Lyft car service to provide non-emergency patient transportation to referred health appointments [TTA 13 Mar].

SDOH is not new to US payers, but the CVS Aetna integration and delivery is much more seamless than distribution through a practice office or mailers.  (This Editor worked on a WellCare program delivered through participating practices in their Maryland accountable care organization unit, and it was hard to get traction.)

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