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Carroll School of Management

Larry J. Merlo

President and Chief Executive Officer
CVS Caremark

Excerpt from remarks to Boston College’s Chief Executives’ Club of Boston 

June 5, 2012

TAKEAWAY: Complementary Services

Now let me turn to innovations that we’re driving with our in-store clinics branded as MinuteClinic. Today MinuteClinic [is] the largest retail clinic provider with about 600 locations in CVS Pharmacy stores across 25 states and the District of Columbia. We expect to expand to more than a thousand clinics over the next four years. And in view of the projected primary care physician shortage, they have a major role to play in improving care and access at substantially lower costs.

MinuteClinic provides convenient, affordable, high-quality care for both acute needs as well as services like school physicals, vaccinations, and monitoring for chronic disease. They’re open seven days a week, including nights and holidays, and they see patients without an appointment. In contrast, the average wait for an appointment with a family practice doctor today is more than 20 days, and actually as much as 60 days in some areas.

MinuteClinic is staffed by highly trusted family nurse practitioners, fully accredited by the joint commission, and we accept nearly every insurance plan, including governmental programs. And MinuteClinic is lower in costs. A RAND study suggested care was 40 to 80 percent less expensive than alternative sites, and very high in quality. A 2010 study among our own CVS Caremark employees showed those that used MinuteClinic had eight percent lower overall health care costs, compared to matched non-users. And we believe MinuteClinic is both replacing the use of high-cost sites such as emergency rooms, as well as addressing unmet needs for access to primary care providers. Both help to hold down overall cost of care.

But I want to be crystal clear: We do not advocate for or believe that the family physician is going away, or should go away. In fact, we see our MinuteClinic offering as complementary and collaborative with primary care medical homes, and helpful to the system.