CVS Caremark pushed further ahead of rival Walgreen in launching today more partnerships with hospitals and health care systems as clinical affiliations become more common in the era of the Affordable Care Act.
CVS/Caremark’s announcement today that it has entered into a clinical affiliation with MedStar Health, a 10 hospital system in Maryland and the Washington, D.C. area brings to 41 the number of health system and “health care provider affiliations” for CVS and its MinuteClinic subsidiary. Reached this morning for comment, Walgreen said it has more than 20 such clinical and hospital partnerships and continues to negotiate more.
But CVS deals have escalated in the last year, announcing eight clinical collaboration’s including today’s since May, which also followed an announcement earlier this year by CVS/Caremark CEO Larry Merlo to cease by this fall the selling of cigarettes and other tobacco products.
“Finding cost-effective ways to increase access to care continues to be important, especially in this era of health care reform and we are pleased to work together with health care providers to help coordinate comprehensive care for their patients,” Dr. Troyen Brennan, CVS/Caremark chief medical officer. “Through this clinical affiliation, we will also be integrating our electronic medical records and information systems to enable us to support patients with counseling and chronic disease monitoring.”
Earlier this year, Merlo told analysts and investors at UBS Global Healthcare Conference that the pharmacy chain eventually plans to have later this year a “footprint of about 1,500 clinics in at least 35 states by 27 teams.”
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Jeffrey R. Ungvary President
New York Times Blog Hard Cases delves into the unpredictable outcomes of doctors taking care of patients who are exactly like themselves.
Dr. Abigail Zuger explores interpersonal chemistry, gender, and ethnicity to determine what binds and estranges patients and doctors. Furthermore, if this type of connection causes any different outcome in patients’ health.
“Professional training may not remove the interpersonal chemistry that binds us to some and estranges us from others, but it can neutralize these forces somewhat, enough to enable civilized and productive dialogue among all comers. Yet until the day when we deal only in cells, organs and genes and not their human containers, we will, for better or worse, always see ourselves in some patients, our friends and relatives in others, and our patients will likewise instinctively experience doctor as mother or father, buddy or virtual stranger.”
Dr. Zuger portrays two stories of female patients visiting a gynecologist she has referred them to. Patient A is enamored with gynecologist because she understands her feelings and concerns. While Patient B is underwhelmed by the gynecologist. As Patient B and her doctor discuss menstrual cramps, her doctors states “they’re just not all that bad.”
Data collected over a decade concluded that most women preferred female gynecologists because they communicated better with one another. A separate study found patients who saw doctors of the same race generally had longer and friendlier visits.
However, when it comes to health outcomes, results are scattered. One study found that having a doctor of the same race had no correlation with good blood pressure, the important this was whether the patient trusted the doctor. While another study discovered that black patients took their medications a little more assiduously, but the same did not hold true for Asians and Asian doctors.
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Jeffrey R. Ungvary