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AA: How has the pandemic changed approaches to healthcare, and how has CVS adjusted its strategy to accommodate changing trends? SG: The pandemic has forced health care delivery to evolve rapidly.
We are increasingly seeing consumers attracted to new, more convenient sites of care, such as virtual and in-home care. Increasingly, we are focusing on using technology to improve the consumer experience and create greater convenience. The home health market continues to grow rapidly as a result of increasing consumer preference for in-home care, accelerated by the pandemic.
The home, specifically, has high impact as a site of care and is expected to drive better clinical outcomes for many procedures as well as long-term care.
We are seeing similar trends in the virtual care space. Virtual care continues to be an important way for consumers to access alternative sites of care that are affordable and convenient particularly as it relates to behavioral health services, which remain elevated since the start of the pandemic. MinuteClinic, which began piloting telehealth services in , offers virtual visits for on-demand general medical and limited mental health services.
Aetna has provided virtual care solutions for the last decade and was the first to offer a nationwide virtual care solution that allows members to access primary care and other health services remotely and in person.
Caremark will introduce virtual specialty care solutions on the platform in Additionally, Caremark members will now have a solution that will allow them to access more CVS Health services and capabilities. By combining health services, a coordinated care team and clinical data on a single digital platform, CVS Health Virtual Primary Care will help all members receive health guidance and care coordination that directs them to the lowest cost, clinically appropriate care.
SG: There are several key opportunities for growth in the near term and long term, both in our existing businesses and as we look to grow to execute on our strategy.
In Health Care Benefits, strong continued membership growth continues to reflect the end-to-end value of our assets, increasingly working together, one customer at a time, at a national scale. Our Medicare business remains one of our strongest growth segments, and we are focused on maintaining above-market growth in this business. In Pharmacy Services, we are a leader in specialty pharmacy with programs that drive value in the marketplace, provide substantive savings to customers and differentiate us as we pair programs with digital assets.
Despite a challenging retail environment, we continue to expand services and bring new customers to CVS Health. At our Investor Day conference last year, we announced our plans to expand our health services offerings in three key categories: primary care, provider enablement and home health.
There are multiple pathways to achieving growth in these areas and inorganic growth is certainly part of our strategy. We are continuing to evaluate complementary health services and care delivery capabilities to enhance our overall portfolio and are taking a disciplined approach both strategically and financially.
Recently, we announced a definitive agreement under which CVS Health will acquire Signify Health, a leader in health risk assessments, value-based care and provider enablement.
Those practices will be supported by a technologically enabled health care ecosystem that is not transactional but integrated across providers and incorporates behavioral health and social determinants of health inequities directly into primary care. What steps is the company taking to meet this goal? SG: This August, we announced a partnership with Constellation to enable the expansion of the Mammoth Solar facility, a large-scale renewable energy project in Indiana, and to match the electricity use of CVS Health locations in Illinois and Ohio.
This partnership will reduce our carbon footprint by more than 38, metric tons each year. SG: The health of the environment impacts the people and communities we serve. We continue to make substantive progress in advancing our sustainability strategy. That trajectory sets us on a path to achieve net-zero emissions from our direct operations by and across our value chain by We are also committed to achieving carbon neutrality by With retail pharmacies, distribution centers, offices and other facilities across the country, our buildings are a significant source of our total energy consumption—and, as a result, a primary focus of our energy conservation efforts.
We are also optimizing our digital solutions to reduce paper. In April , we began to offer a new digital receipt prompt at checkout so customers can choose between a printed receipt, a digital receipt or no receipt. With the addition of our work to make our printed receipts shorter, we have seen significant receipt paper savings. In and , we piloted dispense-and-return systems for reusable bags. The lessons learned from these pilots will inform further iterations of solutions.
Additionally, we strive to reduce the use of plastic and virgin materials and to ensure recyclability for the packaging of all Store Brand products. We have engaged the World Wildlife Fund WWF to audit our Store Brand plastic packaging portfolio, and in we will define a list of problematic or unnecessary packaging and take steps to eliminate them by AA: Is there anything else you would like investors to know?
SG: We have been thoughtful and deliberate in setting our vision and strategy for the future, creating a pathway to achieve low double-digit adjusted earnings per share growth over time. You can expect CVS Health to deliver strong sustainable growth in our foundational businesses and additional growth from our new initiatives. It has done so for several reasons, CVS Health leaders point out. For one, investing in home-based care makes it easier for patients to access necessary services during the public health emergency.
In , for instance, it launched an in-home dialysis pilot program. In , it strove to make its MinuteClinics more accessible to seniors. It delays the onset of end-stage renal disease, reduces hospital admissions and supports people with treatment options. Once Aetna was on board, CVS locations began adding more health services at their MinuteClinics, enabling them to manage patients throughout their care journeys — even with at-home care plans. Symphony is a collection of in-home and wearable devices that are available in around CVS stores and online.
Its differentiator is that it includes a voice-activated smart hub that lets seniors call assigned caregivers or emergency responders hands-free throughout the day. Sensors placed around the house can monitor motion, temperature and air quality, then alert caregivers of any abnormalities through an app.
CVS already sells over , connected devices in its stores every year, but the devices are not necessarily interconnected. Creating that sort of connectivity in the home would address social determinants of health and prevent falls, one of the top reasons for hospitalizations among seniors. Overall, CVS Health sees Symphony as an extender of its health care plans, which includes working with patients in the home more frequently.
But the company wants to explore all avenues with Symphony and its other home-based care endeavors.
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