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CVS/pharmacy, MinuteClinic gear up for 2011-2012 flu season

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark is gearing up for flu season and will leverage both its CVS/pharmacy locations and MinuteClinic sites to provide flu shots for patients every day, including evenings and weekends, and will offer direct medical billing to many national and regional health plans that will cover all or part of the cost of a flu shot.

"By providing 7,800 retail locations across the United States that can offer vaccinations with no appointment necessary, CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic will make getting a flu shot easier than ever this season," said Papatya Tankut, VP pharmacy professional services at CVS/pharmacy. "While the composition of this year’s vaccine has not changed from the previous season, immunity from influenza declines over time. Receiving an annual flu shot provides you with the best protection against catching the flu."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older get a flu shot as soon as the vaccine is available, including those who were vaccinated last season.

CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic also will make flu shots more accessible this year by providing direct medical billing to many national and regional health plans that will cover all or part of the cost of a flu shot.

In addition to the seasonal flu vaccine, CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic will offer Fluzone High-Dose this season, which will be available for people ages 65 years and older. This higher-dose vaccine is designed to provide stronger protection from influenza to this age group, which has a greater risk of developing a severe illness from influenza. Most Medicare beneficiaries, including those covered by Medicare Part B, can get either version of the flu vaccine for no out-of-pocket cost.

According to the CDC, such retail pharmacies as CVS/pharmacy are an increasingly popular destination for a flu shot, accounting for more than 18% of adults who were vaccinated last season.

CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic are expected to announce the complete details of their 2011 flu vaccination program within the next few weeks.

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CVS serves as title sponsor for 2011 National Urban League Conference

BY Antoinette Alexander

BOSTON — CVS Caremark is welcoming thousands of delegates to the 2011 National Urban League Conference as a title sponsor of the event that is taking place in Boston this week.

"Like the Urban League, we value diversity and share a common belief in the importance of revitalizing local communities and creating a more diverse workforce," CVS Caremark president and CEO Larry Merlo said. "That’s why we are exploring a deeper partnership with the Urban League that will leverage their grassroots reach into multicultural communities with the goal of helping people build prosperous careers."

"Employers know what skills they want in their workforces, but they often lack full access to communities where they can identify and foster the talent they need for today and tomorrow," added David Casey, VP workforce strategies and chief diversity officer at CVS Caremark. "A big part of the role of corporate talent acquisition is to deliver the right people in the right roles at the right time in the right places. Given the rapidly changing dynamics of the communities from which we draw talent, diversity has to be top of mind for any company that wants to remain relevant and competitive."

During the NUL Conference, held July 27 to July 30, CVS Caremark also will participate in the Career Expo and will have a booth at the Exhibition Hall where conference-goers can have free health screenings and consultations with pharmacists and nurse practitioners, get free makeovers and receive free samples of CVS/pharmacy-branded products.

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CVS Caremark invests in Easter Seals’ Make the First Five Count initiative

BY Antoinette Alexander

CHICAGO — CVS Caremark, through its All Kids Can program, has partnered with Easter Seals over the past six years to support children at risk of autism, developmental delays or disabilities. CVS Caremark is continuing its support by investing in Easter Seals’ Make the First Five Count initiative to help assure children receive critical early intervention services.

Every year, millions of young children with disabilities or those at risk of developmental delays enter school already far behind other children. Many never catch up. By identifying and treating a delay early on, kids with autism and other disabilities have the best chance of succeeding in life and developing on par with their peers. Early intervention services can help strengthen children’s physical, social, emotional and intellectual abilities well before kindergarten.

CVS Caremark’s investment in Make the First Five Count aims to help assure successful outcomes for young children served by Easter Seals nationwide.

Since Easter Seals’ Living with Autism Study was released in late 2008, CVS Caremark has provided nearly $650,000 in grants from the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust to train and certify Easter Seals therapists in applied behavior analysis, enhancing further Easter Seals’ capacity to respond to the need for evidence-based interventions for young children with autism.

Through this funding, nearly 100 Easter Seals therapists at 20 Easter Seals affiliates nationwide have been trained and certified. To date, more than 500 young children with autism have benefited from ABA therapies.

This year marks CVS Caremark’s sixth year as the national premier sponsor of Easter Seals’ signature fundraising event, Walk With Me. This year, CVS Caremark associates expect to raise more than $1 million through local community engagement and fundraising at nearly 70 walk events nationwide. Over the past five years, CVS Caremark and its more than 200,000 associates across the country have raised more than $7 million for Walk With Me.

"We are very proud of the thousands of CVS Caremark colleagues who are supporting Easter Seals to ensure their services are available to children and families in every community," CVS Caremark SVP corporate communications and community relations Eileen Howard Boone said. "Together, for the past six years, we have been dedicated to helping children of all abilities reach their highest potential."

CVS Caremark selected Easter Seals as a national partner in All Kids Can when the program was introduced in 2006. Since that time, the company, its foundation and its associates have contributed more than $11.5 million to support Easter Seals services in local communities nationwide.

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