By Keith Regan
By Keith Regan
WOONSOCKET - CVS Caremark Corp. said Thursday its charitable trust awarded grants to 70 school and community health centers and clinics nationwide, part of a multiyear, $5 million effort to partner with organizations that provide health care to traditionally underserved populations.
Among the grant recipients are several that provide smoking cessation and anti-tobacco programs. CVS announced in February that it would stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its 7,600 stores nationwide by October of this year.
“Now more than ever, pharmacies are on the front lines of health care, becoming more involved in chronic disease management,” said Eileen Howard Boone, senior vice president of corporate social responsibility and philanthropy at CVS. “We are proud to be the first national pharmacy chain to take this step in support of the health and well-being of our patients and customers.”
Locally, Thundermist Health Center in Woonsocket received $60,000 from the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust. Thundermist, whose patient base includes hundreds who are considered homeless, will use the funds for a program aimed at reducing high-risk behavior.
Grants are being made in partnership with the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, the School-Based Health Alliance and the National Association of Community Health Centers.
Thirty-six free and charitable clinics from Arlington, Va., to San Francisco and Orlando received grants, as did nine in-school health clinics. Funds are earmarked for everything from expanded patient-care coordination to bilingual services and diabetes management. Five community health centers in Massachusetts were among some 20 nationwide receiving grants.
CVS also said it will begin publishing data focusing on health care issues for traditionally underserved populations, surveying the grant recipients to help paint a picture of how health care is being delivered to traditionally hard-to-reach populations, including the homeless and those just gaining health care coverage for the first time through the Affordable Care Act.
“As the delivery of health care services evolves with an emphasis on better health outcomes, reducing chronic disease and controlling costs, it’s essential that we work closely with our community health partners, including free and charitable clinics, school-based health centers and community health centers, to help ensure that thousands of adults and children have access to health services right in their local communities,” said CVS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Troyen A. Brennan. “As a pharmacy innovation company that is committed to helping people on their path to better health, we are reinforcing our commitment to understand the state of community health and to identify where support is needed most and share insights on community health innovations that are creating positive health outcomes.”