AP

CVS Health moves closer to home care with $8B Signify deal

Sep 6, 2022, 12:32 AM | Updated: 12:38 pm

FILE - The CVS Pharmacy logo is displayed on a store on Aug. 3, 2021, in Woburn, Mass. CVS Health w...

FILE - The CVS Pharmacy logo is displayed on a store on Aug. 3, 2021, in Woburn, Mass. CVS Health will pay about $8 billion to expand into home care, a practice that could cut costs and keep patients happy, provided they get the help they need. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

CVS Health will pay about $8 billion to expand into home care, a practice that could cut costs and keep patients happy, provided they get the help they need.

The health care giant is buying Signify Health, a technology company that sends doctors or other care providers to patient homes to assess how they are doing and what help they might need.

The deal, announced late Monday, is a way for CVS Health to provide more help to patients where and when they want it, CEO Karen Lynch told analysts Tuesday morning.

“The home is increasingly part of that choice,” she said, noting that the deal gives the company a foundation to expand further into home health care.

CVS Health runs thousands of drugstores nationally, sells insurance and manages prescription drug coverage.

Like competitors Walgreens and UnitedHealth Group, CVS Health also has been delving more into providing care and managing the health of its customers, especially those with chronic or expensive medical conditions.

Insurers and employers are pushing more for this approach to help patients stay healthy, on their medications and out of expensive hospitals.

Bill payers and care providers have recognized for years now that a patient’s health is largely affected by where they live, how they eat and other factors that happen outside any care provided during a brief doctor’s office visit.

Signify Health works with thousands of doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants nationally. They visit patients to check on their health and other factors in their home that may affect it.

That can include examining into whether the patient is eating well and can afford prescriptions. They also will look for any safety problems like tripping hazards in the home.

The company says it then connects patients after that assessment to “appropriate follow-up care and community-based resources.” A company representative said Signify shares what it learned with both the patient’s insurer and primary care doctor.

Signify Health does these annual assessments mostly for patients on Medicare Advantage plans, which are privately run versions of the government’s Medicare program for people who are age 65 and older. It also works with patients who have returned home from a hospital stay.

Care delivered at home is a trend that started growing before COVID-19 and then accelerated after the pandemic hit, said Jeff Jonas, a portfolio manager with Gabelli Funds.

“People just don’t want to go to the hospital or go to a large physician office,” he said, noting that he expects home care to continue growing.

Health care researchers say the impact of these visits and assessments on a patient’s health isn’t clear yet.

“Overall, the key question is what will happen with the assessment once it’s made,” said Gretchen Jacobson, a vice president of Medicare with the nonpartisan Commonwealth Fund.

The assessments could be helpful to patients, provided they receive the right support afterward to address any challenges that were identified, said Tricia Neuman, a senior vice president with the Kaiser Family Foundation, which also studies health care issues.

She said that some patients may have a complex prescription drug regimen to track, and they may need help managing that as well as other daily activities. If the patient has no family to help with this, then the plan or care provider has to help fill those gaps.

She noted that needs can differ by patient.

“Not everybody prefers to be at home because not everybody has the support they need at home,” she said. “This is both a challenge and an opportunity.”

___

Follow Tom Murphy on Twitter: @thpmurphy

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Photo: A delegate wears a hat with pins during the Republican National Convention Monday, July 15, ...

Christine Fernando, Steve People and Jill Colvin, The Associated Press

Rep. Walsh speaks for Washington as cheering GOP delegates nominate Trump for president

Cheering GOP delegates formally nominated Donald Trump for president at Monday's Republican National Convention kickoff.

2 days ago

Photo: Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, right, points toward Republican presidential candidate former Presi...

Jill Colvin, Julie Carr Smyth, Steve Peoples and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

Trump picks Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, a once-fierce critic turned loyal ally, as his GOP running mate

Donald Trump named Sen. JD Vance of Ohio as his running mate, choosing a onetime critic who became a loyal ally.

2 days ago

trump assassination...

Ayanna Alexander, The Associated Press

What to know about Trump assassination attempt and the investigation into the shooting

Authorities want to know how a shooter was able to get on top of a roof so close to where former President Donald Trump was speaking and open fire.

2 days ago

Photo: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is surrounded by U.S. Secret...

Julie Carr Smyth, Jill Colvin, Colleen Long, Michael Balsamo, Eric Tucker and Michelle L. Price, The Associated Press

Trump heads to convention as authorities investigate motive, security in assassination attempt

Trump called for unity and resilience after an attempt on his life added fresh uncertainty to an already tumultuous presidential campaign.

3 days ago

Photo: President Joe Biden speaks from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Sunday,...

Will Weissert and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

In primetime address, Biden says country must not go down road of political violence

President Joe Biden says “we can’t, we must not go down” the road of political violence in America after the attempted Trump assassination.

3 days ago

Photo: President Joe Biden speaks at a news conference following the NATO Summit in Washington, Thu...

Zeke Miller, Seung Min Kim, Lisa Mascaro and Colleen Long, The Associated Press

Biden says during news conference he’s going to ‘complete the job’ despite calls to bow out

Biden used his highly anticipated news conference to deliver a defense of his policies and batted away questions about his ability to serve.

6 days ago

CVS Health moves closer to home care with $8B Signify deal