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CVS MinuteClinics hires a new chief medical officer in the midst of buying Aetna

  • Dr. Marc-David Munk will join CVS as chief medical officer for MinuteClinics and as associate chief medical officer of CVS Health .
  • Munk joins CVS from Iora Health, a company that wants to create better primary care.
  • MinuteClinics are a key part of CVS' $69 billion plan to acquire health insurer Aetna.
A CVS location in New York.
Spencer Platt | Getty Images
A CVS location in New York.

CVS Health has hired an Iora Health executive to help run its MinuteClinics, CNBC has learned.

Dr. Marc-David Munk will join CVS as chief medical officer for the drugstore chain's walk-in clinics and as associate chief medical officer of CVS Health. He had been at Iora Health since 2015. For two of those years, he served as chief medical officer, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Iora has innovated in primary care, both in the clinics it opens and the way it bills patients. Munk will take his experience to CVS as the drugstore chain tries to revamp its MinuteClinics. The walk-in retail clinics are a key part of CVS' planned $69 billion acquisition of health insurer Aetna.

CVS also isn't the first to poach from Iora. In January, Amazon hired Iora's Seattle-based medical director and practicing geriatrician Martin Levine. Amazon hasn't spoken much about its moves in health care, but it's getting into the industry. The threat has likely contributed to a frenzy of dealmaking.

As part of its own efforts to revamp the industry, CVS is hoping to convince more people to use its walk-in clinics and keep them out of more expensive places like emergency rooms. It plans to boost MinuteClinics' offerings to about 90 percent of services typically provided in primary care facilities, up from about 40 to 45 percent now, Thomas Moriarty, CVS' executive vice president, chief policy and external affairs officer, and general counsel told a congressional panel in February.

In his new role, Munk will help develop innovative strategic programming and expanded health-care services across CVS.

"We believe that the knowledge and experience Marc-David will bring to MinuteClinic and to the overall CVS Health enterprise will not only lead to care delivery enhancements, but also to further innovation as we look for ways to expand and integrate health care services across our business," Dr. Troyen A. Brennan, chief medical officer of CVS Health, said in a statement.

Retail clinics and urgent care centers tend to be a less expensive and more convenient way to treat pressing needs. Health-care companies across the spectrum are searching for ways to lower costs and simplify the complex system, and that has been driving both innovation and a flurry of deals.

"Primary care is broken and in need of change so we welcome companies who are looking to create new solutions," an Iora spokeswoman said in a statement about Munk's departure. "At Iora, we believe better health care starts with primary care, and we wish Marc the best as he continues on the journey to improve care."

CVS opened its first retail clinic in 2000 and rebranded it to MinuteClinic in 2003. It now operates 1,100 locations. There, consumers can seek treatment for minor illnesses like strep throat and monitoring for chronic conditions like diabetes and receive vaccinations.