Yesterday’s news about CVS’ move to stop selling tobacco in its stores was awesome. But while I could explain the general idea of how not selling tobacco would help with CVS’ healthcare expansion, I felt no article had sufficiently explained the intersection of the decision and new guidelines under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Since I am far from an ACA expert, I spoke with a consultant who works with the federal government and states on ACA implementation issues. Here is his explanation of why CVS’ move is so valuable under the ACA:

“Think about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the evolution of health care in general, by using one word: Coordination. Most initiatives stem from this idea. A good example is electronic health records (because doctors/specialists/hospitals didn’t have a way to reliably share information). Accountable Care Organizations, bundled payment initiatives, Patient-Centered Medical Homes, etc., also all stem from the push (mainly through the ACA, but this was happening before as well) for different entities to coordinate.

You’ve seen this first hand, when you go to a primary doctor; they refer you to a specialist, they refer you to a blood lab, and on and on. The idea here is if all these entities could “coordinate” your care better, then you will receive better results, while also lowering costs.

The CVS move is interesting because they are neither health providers or insurers, but suppliers (mostly via their pharmacies). A first step they took to become a more “coordinated” entity was with Minute Clinic. Not selling tobacco products is a big second step. If I’m a doctor practicing in a coordinated care entity, I’ll probably be much more likely to refer you to a place called “CVS Health,” to pick up your medications. I also might even want to cut a deal with CVS Health in the future to get my patients access to discounted drugs, and in turn allow CVS Health to share in the savings.”
And finally, an explanation in picture form…

2 Comments on Explaining the true value of the CVS tobacco decision under the ACA

  1. Google
    September 22, 2014 at 6:09 am (3 years ago)

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    • The Day Tradette
      September 22, 2014 at 4:35 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you so much! As always, appreciate any suggestions you have for improvement and if you pass along the blog link to friends.


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