CVS Health, Unite Us partner on SDOH effort in 3 states

CVS Health will collaborate with Unite Us to address social determinants of health in an initiative in three states’ Medicaid programs.

CVS Health will collaborate with Unite Us to address social determinants of health in an initiative in three states’ Medicaid programs.

CVS Health and Unite Us—an outcomes-focused technology company that builds coordinated care networks of health and human service providers—will make the new SDOH program available to Medicaid members in Louisville, Ky., in the portion of the program managed by Aetna during the second half of this year, CVS said. The program will also be available to Aetna's Dual-Eligible Special Needs Plan members in Tampa and southeast Louisiana.

CVS Health’s move to address SDOH with the help of United Us is part of CVS Health’s new Building Healthier Communities Initiative, launched last January. The $100 million, five-year commitment is funded by CVS Health and the CVS Health and Aetna Foundations. CVS merged with Aetna last November and covers an estimated 38 million people.

Karen Lynch, executive vice president of CVS Health and president of Aetna says CVS Health has an “unprecedented opportunity” to make an impact on some 10,000 communities across the country by addressing the social determinants that affect health. The partnership with Unite Us will help some of Aetna's most vulnerable Medicaid and dual eligible members more easily access social services within their community, she said.

A proprietary technology resource developed by Unite Us will help Aetna members, or their case managers, access a network of social care providers.

"Our mission is to connect individuals and families across the United States to the services they need through collaboration with local service providers (by using) shared infrastructure and an inclusive approach for those in need," says Taylor Justice, Unite Us co-founder and president. "Working with CVS Health, we will foster a community of care and a local support system to empower community members to make the most of the services available to them."

In conjunction with this announcement, Aetna has also developed an analytics tool that will quantify the probable impact of SDOH on an employer's health plan results, scheduled for release this month. Additional capabilities for the tool are scheduled for release in early 2020, Aetna said.

By the end of the year, CVS Health plans to invest $50 million in affordable housing nationwide for at-risk populations.

CVS Health and Aetna have invested $40.5 million this year in affordable housing in six states. The investments include more than 100 permanent supportive housing units reserved for people with mental health issues, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse issues or long-term chronic health conditions.

"It's hard to focus on your health when you are worried about your housing situation,” says Garth Graham, vice president of Community Health and Impact at CVS Health and president of the Aetna Foundation. “Research has shown that providing safe and secure housing options can help improve health outcomes, particularly for individuals with chronic health conditions.”

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