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CVS Caremark issues statement on CMS action related to SilverScript

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark has announced that it is working to resolve service issues related to its SilverScript Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan. 

Issues with SilverScript enrollment processing resulted from an enrollment system conversion and brought about an increase in call volume and issues related to claims processing, including, in some instances, not being able to have claims adjudicated at the pharmacy.  As a consequence, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has placed SilverScript on intermediate sanctions. Enrollment of any Medicare beneficiaries in the SilverScript plan and all marketing activities have been suspended. 

The CMS action does not affect current SilverScript members and these beneficiaries will continue to have access to covered services.  Existing employer group health plans are not affected by this action; CVS Caremark health plan clients are not affected by this action. The company estimates that the sanctions should not have a material impact on its 2013 earnings.

"We take these issues very seriously and are committed to working swiftly with CMS officials to address their areas of concern," stated Jon Roberts, president of the PBM business of CVS Caremark. "We also want to commit to members who experienced enrollment issues that we will resolve these expeditiously."


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CVS Caremark, UFCW announce cooperation agreement in 500 stores

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, RI and WASHINGTON, D.C. — CVS Caremark and the United Food & Commercial Workers have announced that they have signed a cooperation agreement giving CVS/pharmacy employees at approximately 500 stores in the metropolitan Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego areas the opportunity to vote on whether or not they want to be represented by the union.  

“This agreement is fair and reasonable for our employees and the company,” stated Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark. “It enables CVS Caremark to focus all of its energy and resources on our purpose of helping people on their path to better health.”

According to CVS Caremark and the UFCW, this Cooperation Agreement will help promote the success of the company and demonstrates the shared commitment of both parties to ensuring that employees have the right to choose whether to be represented by a union without pressure or undue influence.

The five-year agreement also establishes a quick and simple election process that allows workers to vote on whether or not to join the union.

There are more than 8,300 CVS/pharmacy employees who are currently UFCW members in 11 states and in the District of Columbia. In California, CVS recognized the workers’ union in about 100 former Sav-On stores following the company’s acquisition of those stores in 2006.  Under this new cooperative agreement, both parties have agreed to extend the existing collective bargaining agreement for other California CVS/pharmacy employees to incoming union members for the next five years.


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Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to keynote NACDS Annual Meeting

BY Antoinette Alexander

ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has announced former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates as the keynote speaker for the 2013 NACDS Annual Meeting, which will be held April 20 to 23 in Palm Beach, Fla.

“We are honored to have Dr. Gates as our keynote speaker at the NACDS Annual Meeting,” stated NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson.  “His highly-regarded and distinguished career and experience as Secretary of Defense and nearly three decades as an intelligence professional under eight U.S. Presidents will no doubt engage and inspire attendees at this year’s meeting.”
 
Gates served as the nation’s 22nd Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011, starting under President George W. Bush and asked to remain in his post under President Barack Obama, making him the only Secretary of Defense in U.S. history to remain in that office by a newly-elected president. President Obama awarded Gates the highest civilian honor — the Presidential Medal of Freedom — on Gates’ last day in office in 2011.
 
Joining the CIA in 1966, Gates served for 27 years in a number of intelligence capacities, including the National Security Council, The White House and became director of the CIA from 1991 to 1993.  He is the only career officer in CIA’s history to rise from an entry-level employee to director.  
 
Gates also served in roles in the private sector, including as president of Texas A&M University and served on a number of boards including the Executive Committee of the American Council on Education and the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America.
 
Gates is the recipient of a number of awards including the National Security Medal, Presidential Citizens Medal and three-time recipient of the CIA’s highest award, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal.  He has also authored the memoir, From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insiders Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War, published in 1996.
 


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