CVS announced Monday its plans to acquire Signify Health, a network of more than 10,000 clinicians. The network provides in-home, in-person assessment and care for US patients, as well as virtual telemedicine visits. The $8 billion acquisition is a big bet for the 59-year-old pharmacy chain. It is also an attempt to revive the concept of home visits, which is a relatively old concept.
CVS is just one of several companies that have recently invested in home health care, including Amazon and Walgreens. The reason is simple. Her 65+ population in the US could practically double by 2060, which means the demand for healthcare will almost certainly increase as well.
Seeing a doctor at home is safer for people who have difficulty going out. The resumption of home visits is also part of a broader transformation of how health care is delivered and, perhaps more importantly, who delivers it. Like CVS, many of the companies investing in home care are interested in using technology to take on more than just home care appointments, unlike traditional providers. I’m here.
CVS has made no secret of the fact that it is shifting gears and aiming to become a technology-focused healthcare company (the chain officially changed its name to CVS Health in 2014). The plan includes closing approximately 1,000 of the approximately 10,000 pharmacies in the U.S. over the next few years, while also diverting some of the remaining retail outlets to provide emergency, primary care, and psychiatric care in addition to traditional pharmacy services. This includes turning it into a clinic that can deliver. The company already owns insurance company His Aetna, prescription benefits management service Caremark, and a pharmacy service for nursing homes called Omnicare. His CVS, which just launched a virtual telemedicine platform earlier this year, is now also adding doctors, nurses, and physician assistants who travel to people’s homes.
“The concept of CVS? It’s a very nice umbrella they created,” explains Tara Cortez, executive director of New York University’s Hartford Institute of Geriatric Nursing. “They really have a complete package that provides a holistic approach for people to maximize their health potential and stay safe at home.”
Home visits currently make up a relatively small percentage of doctor appointments in the United States. Physicians used to travel directly to patients’ homes, often on horseback, before cars, but throughout the 20th century, patient-traveling primary care Her practice became the primary way people received health care. became. In 1930, home visits accounted for 40% of doctor-patient encounters, but twenty years later he accounted for only 10% of those encounters, and in 1980 he accounted for only 0.6%. New England Journal of Medicine study. Today, home care visits are primarily an option used by people with certain health conditions, patients recovering after being hospitalized, and older adults who would benefit from seeing a clinician at home. People who use these services have a Medicare Advantage Plan. This allows you to build in personal coverage to supplement your Medicare plan, including care at home.
Some believe that home care appointments are entering a renaissance era embellished with technology. With the rise of telemedicine and new connected devices (for example, remote monitors can automatically update doctors on patient vital statistics), home care appointments have been made. easy to promoteIn general, sending a nurse or doctor to a patient’s home can be a more comfortable experience for the patient and can also give the clinician insight into the patient’s daily life and practices. Some speculate that the types of data Signify could potentially collect, such as information about a patient’s diet or relationships at home, could make healthcare delivery more effective. There are certainly privacy concerns as well.
But like all things, there are real drawbacks. Some experts say the massive expansion of large pharmacies into different aspects of health care could put existing independent pharmacies at a disadvantage. There are also broader antitrust issues. The FTC is already investigating Amazon’s plans to acquire primary care network One Medical, and competition experts warn CVS could face similar hurdles with its plan to acquire Signify Health. doing.
“CVS appears to be seeking control over all aspects of healthcare delivery with this acquisition, and visits to home care are part of its ambitions,” said the nonprofit Community Self-Support Institute. Director Stacey Mitchell explains. We advocate local solutions. “There are genuine concerns about the impact of its dominance in an already highly integrated industry.”
Still, CVS isn’t the only company involved in this effort. Amazon has also stepped up to acquire Signify, and its employer health care program, Amazon Care, offered a stay-at-home appointment option before shutting down earlier this year.Just last week, Walgreens brought his 3 Completed $30 million investment. CareCentrix is a platform that facilitates home care for patients after discharge. In 2020, his insurance company Humana bought his stake in Heal for his $100 million. Heal is a telemedicine and home care service that is already available in multiple states. The company already owns his Onehome provider of home health care services.
Time will tell if CVS’ proposal passes regulatory scrutiny, but there’s no guarantee that the company’s foray into home care will ultimately prove popular with patients. Still, it’s already clear that the resumption of home visits isn’t really a throwback. is “competitive,” Cortez explains, “not in the traditional healthcare system.”
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