CVS Caremark outlines growth agenda

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark executives expressed optimism going into 2013 and outlined its strategic growth framework, which leverages the company’s unique integrated model, during its annual Analyst Day held on Thursday in New York City.

“CVS Caremark is very well-positioned for continued growth. The rapidly changing environment creates significant challenges across the healthcare universe, but this also creates significant opportunities,” Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark, told analysts. “We are uniquely positioned to address these opportunities through pharmacy innovation. Our strategic growth framework provides the lens through which we’ll make strategic investments and prioritize initiatives. And we are capitalizing on our suite of assets to drive results and enhance value for our clients, customers and shareholders.”

Merlo kicked off the meeting with a brief look at 2012’s core areas of focus — continued leadership in core businesses, pharmacy innovation to solve key healthcare issues and capitalizing on the power of its integration “sweet spots” — and a review of some major accomplishments within the past year. However, the real question is where does the healthcare powerhouse go from here? In fact, that question served as the backdrop to Thursday’s meeting.

During the meeting, executives identified the highest priority initiatives that define the company’s strategic growth framework, including advancing new breakthrough interventions to improve medication adherence; transforming primary care through the accelerated growth of MinuteClinic and expansion of its breadth of services; expanding specialty pharmacy services; identifying opportunities to deliver solutions addressing provider needs to support patient outcomes; partnering more closely with health plans; and expanding digital capabilities across the enterprise with the goal of addressing patient information and product needs in a seamless fashion.

PBM Growth Strategy

On hand to provide a business update and to discuss core growth opportunities within the PBM business was Jon Roberts, EVP and president of CVS Caremark Pharmacy Services.

With the progress of the 2013 selling-season likely on the minds of many industry observers, Roberts told analysts that the company garnered $4.4 billion in total gross new business and a 96% retention rate. Roberts noted that the PBM has seen success across all segments: Employer, Med D/Medicaid and Blues/commercial health plans.

Furthermore, CVS Caremark is seeing growing interest in its proprietary programs Pharmacy Advisor and Maintenance Choice.

Pharmacy Advisor, which is the company’s clinical program designed to address adherence and gaps in care, will further expand come 2013 with the deployment of five additional chronic conditions — asthma, COPD, depression, osteoporosis and breast cancer.

“Adoption remains strong, and we expect to have approximately 16 million lives enrolled in our programs in 2013,” Roberts said. “And in 2013, we will further expand Pharmacy Advisor to Medicare members. This expansion into Medicare will help our health plan clients achieve their star ratings in the clinical metrics.”

Meanwhile, the Maintenance Choice program continues to prove successful. Maintenance Choice is the company’s integrated product that was broadly introduced in 2010. It extends the mail order benefit for Caremark members that participate in qualifying plans, enabling them to pick up their maintenance medications at any CVS retail pharmacy with no increase in co-pay or payor pricing.

The company will launch in 2013 across its book of business the next generation of the program dubbed Maintenance Choice 2.0, which includes a less restrictive or voluntary plan design option.

“In 2013, we will have 14.5 million lives adopting Maintenance Choice, up from the nearly 11 million lives in 2012. We are seeing more new clients adopting Maintenance Choice right out of the gate,” Roberts said. “We see a significant runway for future adoption of Maintenance Choice, and we believe the potential adoption among our current clients represents up to 34 million members in total. We expect adoption of the program to accelerate in coming years.”

Roberts also said the company is well-positioned to capitalize on fast growing market segments: Medicare Part D, managed Medicaid and specialty pharmacy.

“In summary, we believe that the PBM is uniquely positioned to drive growth and our priorities remain focused on continuing to achieve profitable net-new business; leveraging our unique model to create truly distinctive client and member value; continuing to progress in driving clinical outcomes; continuing to build on our leadership positions in specialty, Medicare and Medicaid; and finally, we continue to build a culture of continuous improvement, building upon our streamline efforts. I believe these are critical to our success in this changing market,” Roberts told analysts.

Driving Growth in Retail Pharmacy

“Our retail business is really firing on all cylinders,” Mark Cosby, EVP and president of CVS/Pharmacy, told analysts. “We are continuing to grow market share, and we are significantly outpacing our competition in both the front store and in the pharmacy. And while we have clearly seen an uptick from our ESI customers, our underlying core business continues to perform well.”

Touching upon its core growth opportunities, Cosby discussed the company’s plan to drive pharmacy growth, differentiating the front store and growing its store base.

As part of its pharmacy growth, Cosby discussed the company’s new WeCARE initiative, which aims to improve service and outcomes and grow scripts.

“We modified our powerful RxConnect system to address the landscape changes. WeCARE integrates all prescriptions into one workflow to efficiently manage whether they are faxed, e-prescribed or dropped off. WeCARE also integrates our patient care intervention programs directly into our pharmacy workflow. It also clearly defines the role of each member of our pharmacy team," Cosby said.

Most of the stores will have this new workflow in place by the end of this year, with a few remaining stores moving to WeCARE in 2013.

Meanwhile, the retailer is working to expand its myCVS store clustering initiative, which focuses on store designs that match the needs of customers within each type of trade area.

“We have defined eight unique clusters to match our customer base, and we are organizing to capitalize on this cluster opportunity,” Cosby said. He said that the company is designing a new store prototype that will be fully oriented toward each of the eight clusters.

The effort kicked off in 2011 with its Urban cluster, and now the company has set its sights on a Suburban-focused pilot in 2013. This will feature an enhanced pharmacy and an elevated health and beauty assortment.

The Suburban cluster will be rolled out through remodels and as part of its new store program. The company will also test new clusters that will be rolled out starting in 2014.

“The myCVS clustering effort will be a powerful growth driver for us both in the front store and in the pharmacy,” Cosby said.

MinuteClinic momentum gains steam

MinuteClinic continues to prove that it is a critical component of the CVS Caremark enterprise. Revenue growth continues to be robust, expansion of services and telemedicine spell greater opportunities and the number of clinical affiliations continue to grow.

Andy Sussman, SVP and associate chief medical officer/president of MinuteClinic told analysts that 2012 standalone MinuteClinic revenue will be in the high end of its guidance range of $185 million and $190 million. Next year, the company expects revenue from MinuteClinic operations to be at least $225 million, up more than 20% from 2012.

By year-end, the company will operate 640 clinics in 25 states, of which 98% are open year-round.

The company announced it would accelerate MinuteClinic’s growth plan, and now plans to operate at least 1,500 clinics by 2017 and will continue to enter new markets, including Hawaii and Louisiana next year.