The CVS Caremark Charitable Trust has awarded $1 million in grants to 21 community health centers to support programs on treatment and management of chronic diseases.

CVS Caremark Charitable Trust, CVS Caremark, chronic disease, chronic illness, community health centers, Innovations in Community Health grants, CVS Caremark Chronic Disease Awareness Survey, National Association of Community Health Centers, NACHC, Larry Merlo, Eileen Howard, Boone, Tom Van Coverden, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, asthma, medication adherence

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CVS grants help fund community chronic disease programs

April 24th, 2013

WOONSOCKET, R.I. – The CVS Caremark Charitable Trust has awarded $1 million in grants to 21 community health centers to support programs on treatment and management of chronic diseases.

CVS Caremark said Wednesday that the grants, part of a $3 million multiyear initiative to help people nationwide manage and prevent chronic diseases, will help community health centers boost access to health care and yield better health outcomes while paring costs for patients and health systems.

The Innovations in Community Health grants were awarded through a partnership with the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). The community health center programs focus on such chronic illnesses as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and asthma, including medication adherence and therapy management for the conditions.

In tandem with the announcement of the grants, CVS Caremark also released a study that sheds light on the public's misconception and understanding of chronic diseases — specifically that most people aren't doing as much as they could to stay healthy.

According to the CVS Caremark Chronic Disease Awareness Survey, 28% of respondents think there's little they can do to prevent most chronic diseases, even though controllable health risk behaviors — such as lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption — contribute most to the exacerbation of chronic diseases.

Key findings of the survey include the following:

• 57% of people admit they don't take the steps they should to improve their diet.
• 37% of respondents think what they eat has little to do with whether they get a chronic disease.
• 64% of people are aware they should exercise regularly but don't.
• 33% of those polled don't think diabetes is a chronic disease.
• 32% of people believe smoking doesn't have an effect on chronic diseases beyond lung cancer.
• 40% of respondents who do not have and 30% of those who do have a chronic illness don't think heart disease and hypertension are chronic diseases.
• 60% of people are aware they should take steps to reduce stress but don't.

"Chronic diseases impact everyone and the number of people living with a chronic disease is expected to increase over the next decade. The results from the Chronic Disease Awareness Survey show that many of us do not know the contributors of the most common chronic diseases," CVS Caremark president and chief executive officer Larry Merlo said in a statement. "Community health centers play a critical role in both helping to educate the public on health-related issues and increasing access to high-quality health care services that can help manage and prevent chronic diseases."

CVS Caremark noted that more than half of Americans suffer from one or more chronic diseases each year, and chronic diseases are the top causes of death and disability in the United States. In addition, 75% of U.S. health care costs — more than $1 trillion per year — stem from chronic illnesses.

"Through our partnership with NACHC, we are providing much-needed funding to support affordable community-based health care models that are producing innovative programming in the area of chronic disease management," stated Eileen Howard Boone, president of the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust. "The programs will use a variety of methods to help people manage their chronic disease and improve health outcomes, including the use of telemedicine, nurse practitioners to monitor at-risk patients and wellness circles that bring people together who are living with and working to manage the same chronic disease."

The grants were awards to the following community health centers and their programs: ACCESS Community Health Center in New York (hypertension); AltaMed Health Services Corp. in Los Angeles (diabetes and hypertension); Community Health Center of Cape Cod in Mashpee, Mass. (diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia); Dimock Community Health Center in Roxbury, Mass. (coronary artery disease); Family Care Health Centers in St. Louis (obesity); Health Delivery Inc. in Saginaw, Mich. (diabetes and hypertension); HealthSource of Ohio in Milford, Ohio (diabetes and disease management); Jordan Valley Community Health Center in Springfield, Mo. (hypertension); LifeLong Medical Care in Berkeley, Calif. (diabetes); Maple City Health Care Center in Goshen, Ind. (diabetes); North Country HealthCare in Flagstaff, Ariz. (heart disease and diabetes); Open Door Health Services in Muncie, Ind. (diabetes and telemedicine); Project H.O.P.E. Inc. in Camden, N.J. (diabetes); Refuah Health Center in Spring Valley, N.Y. (diabetes and hypertension); SouthEast Lancaster Health Services in Lancaster, Pa. (asthma and diabetes); Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation in Sauget, Ill. (hypertension); Vista Community Clinic in Vista, Calif. (diabetes); Waimanalo Health Center in Waimanalo, Hawaii (diabetes and hypertension); Wesley Health Center in Phoenix (hypertension and diabetes); West Hawaii Community Health Center in Kailua Kona, Hawaii (diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia); and the William F. Ryan Community Health Center in New York (diabetes, hypertension and heart disease).

"Today, community health centers are providing affordable health care services to more than 22 million patients in more than 9,000 locations throughout the country," commented Tom Van Coverden, president and CEO of the National Association of Community Health Centers. "Through our partnership with the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust, we are able to work with the Innovations in Community Health grant recipients to not only help them provide their local communities with access to innovative and high-quality health care, but also educate the public on how they can prevent and manage chronic diseases."