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CVS announces $100M community health initiative

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CVS announces $100M community health initiative

CVS Health Corp. and recently acquired insurer Aetna Inc. are pumping $100 million into U.S. communities over the next five years to offer free health screenings and nonprofit assistance, CVS CEO and Director Larry Merlo said Jan. 14.

"This effort means more free health screenings, and more funding to tackle public health challenges, including tobacco and opioid use. It means more investments to address the social determinants of health," Merlo said during an address at The National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

The new "Building Healthier Communities" initiative will expand CVS' Project Health campaign to more communities in 2019, offering more underserved and underinsured communities with health assessments that include individual screenings for blood pressure, body mass index, blood glucose and cholesterol, according to CVS.

The funding will also help regional and national nonprofits working to managing chronic diseases, including the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association and American Diabetes Association, CVS said. The initiative will also support community-based organizations working on social issues including access to safe outdoor spaces, affordable transportation, and access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

CVS and Aetna employees have also pledged a minimum of $10 million in volunteer hours each year, Merlo said. The combined company, in addition to the CVS Health Foundation and Aetna Foundation, will fund the initiative.

CVS closed its acquisition of Aetna two days after gaining final regulatory approval Nov. 26, 2018. A federal judge in December 2018 allowed the two companies to move ahead with integration while a court review of the deal is pending.

Merlo earlier this month previewed how CVS will expand services at its retail pharmacies, including the February launch of a one-stop shop in Houston that will offer blood draws, screenings for chronic diseases and other health services.