By Eileen Howard Boone, Senior Vice President of Corporate Philanthropy and Social Responsibility, CVS Caremark; President, CVS Caremark Charitable Trust
Chronic disease is the leading cause of death and disability in the United States. It’s an important health care issue that communities across the country are facing every day.
In West Hawaii, a region with limited access to medical care and a growing population of approximately 65,000 people, the West Hawaii Community Health Center (WHCHC) strives to provide affordable health care services including chronic disease prevention and management to all residents regardless of their ability to pay.
Reducing Healthcare Costs
Chronic disease care costs the U.S. $1 trillion each year. Having diabetes or prediabetes puts patients at increased risk for heart disease and stroke. To put it in perspective, 17 people died of a shark attack in 2011—but 600,000 people die from unmanaged heart disease in the U.S. every year. In Hawaii in 2005, the total charges associated with hospitalizations due to a primary diagnosis of cardiovascular disease amounted to more than $604 million.
Breaking Down Barriers to Care
The West Hawaii Community Health Center and CVS Caremark share in the belief that care coordination is the key to achieving better health outcomes, especially among patients living with chronic disease. The CVS Caremark Charitable Trust and the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) are proud to provide an “Innovations in Community Health” grant to the WHCHC to further enhance their coordination of care efforts. Through the grant, the WHWCH will be able to extend care from the Center’s four walls to patients’ homes and community organizations. They will bring together behavior health specialists, nurses and patient navigators to work together in addressing each patient’s health issues. And they will also offer patients group medical visits with a medical provider and chronic disease self-management classes. All of these health care services are customized to each patient’s individual needs to help identify and break down barriers to care.
Chronic Disease Impacts Everyone
More than half of Americans suffer from diseases that limit their lifestyle. The past 20 years have seen dramatic growth in the percent of the population diagnosed with diabetes and cardiovascular or chronic heart disease, driven in large part by increased rates of obesity. The incidence of stroke is rising, in large part because more people are surviving to old age. Rates of pulmonary disease have also risen in recent decades. And reported cases of mental disorders, including depression, are growing, too.
To help alleviate the negative impacts of chronic disease, such as diabetes, at the West Hawaii Community Health Center, a care coordinator will offer 90 diabetes patients an intensive two-pronged care approach, combining in-home care coordination and management services with group medical visits and disease management classes. And, the Center is tracking patients’ participation and progress. This new program has already made a positive impact in patients’ lives as you’ll see illustrated in this video.
The mission of our partnership with NACHC and the “Innovations in Community Health” grant program is to help increase access to quality health care and produce better health outcomes while reducing costs for patients and health care systems. We’re proud to support the West Hawaii Community Health Center and their mission to help people live healthier lives.
For more information about the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust and National Association of Community Health Center (NACHC) partnership, please click here.
Eileen Howard Boone is Senior Vice President of Corporate Philanthropy and Social Responsibility at CVS Caremark. In this role, she leads a team responsible for implementing a broad range of communications, philanthropic and CSR programs that align with the company’s purpose to help people on their path to better health.
Howard Boone is also the president of the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust, the private foundation of CVS Caremark. In this role, she oversees the foundation’s charitable giving and is responsible for creating and managing strategic partnerships with non-profit organizations that share in the Trust’s commitment to provide greater access to health care in communities throughout the country.