The merger of CVS Health and Aetna paints a picture of healthcare utopia, but is it really true?
Will fewer people fall through the cracks and receive high-quality, low-cost medical care at their corner drug store?
While in concept, the merger can be spun as a game-changer for patients who desire access, medical care, medications and follow-up in a convenient location, I’m a contrarian who thinks it’s all about the money.
The business architects who have been devising this deal for years were waiting for the right time in the growth of CVS and Aetna, to unleash a ‘new deal’ that will ignite immediate shareholder value. And, they did!
The fact is, hospitals throughout the country are in a better position to reinvent their locations as retail centers of health excellence. The patient-consumer can visit a hospital in one or two days, or as needed and receive education, schedule a procedure, have a number of tests and even visit the pharmacy. Yes, the hospital pharmacy is destined to become a new center of excellence for this domain and offer parity services to that of CVS and Walgreens. And, if they really do it right, they can create a patient experience that exceeds anything CVS could provide.
I always said, if a hospital could think and act like “IKEA” what a wonderful world healthcare delivery would be. Combining easy access with great customer service would give patients the service they deserve. Hospitals would be able to act as problem solvers to their customers with high value pricing.
In summary, who really needs to be the real winner in all of this change, is the patient. And, when the healthcare architects of business no matter where they reside recognize, that patient love is what will change the healthcare status of America, we’ll all be better off.