Health and Science

CVS expanding HealthHUBS to Boston, Dallas next year — targets cities with chronic disease

Key Points
  • CVS will open HealthHUBs in Boston, Dallas-Forth Worth, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia in the first half of 2020.
  • CVS will also open a handful of HealthHUBs in Hartford, New York City and in Washington, D.C.
  • HealthHUBs are key to CVS's vision for its $70 billion acquisition of health insurer Aetna.
CVS' new concept stores, called HealthHUBs, offer more health services than its typical drugstores.
Source: CVS Health

CVS will bring its health-focused stores to Boston, Dallas-Fort Worth, North Carolina and Ohio, among other markets, early next year, the company announced Thursday.

Called HealthHUBs, the stores boast more health services and products like blood testing and sleep apnea machines. CVS unveiled the concept in Houston earlier this year and announced last month it would add 1,500 HealthHUBs by the end of 2021.

In the first half of 2020, CVS will open HealthHUBs in Boston, Dallas-Forth Worth, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia. It will also open a handful of stores in Hartford, home of CVS's newly acquired Aetna's headquarters, New York City and Washington, D.C.

CVS Pharmacy President Kevin Hourican said the company has "the highest confidence" in the new store design.

"We can address the chronic disease patients of Aetna, lower medical costs and serve customers better than they're currently being served," he said in an interview.

HealthHUBs embody CVS's vision for the $70 billion acquisition of health insurer Aetna it completed last fall. CVS hopes that in combining drugstores, pharmacy benefits and health insurance, it can better tailor its stores to treat chronic diseases and other costly conditions, improve the stores' performance and lower health-care costs.

In the existing HealthHUBs, Hourican said CVS has seen increases in foot traffic, MinuteClinic visits, prescriptions dispensed and sales of products in the front of the stores since remodeling the stores. People are starting to visit the clinics for chronic disease management, particularly diabetes, instead of the typical cough or flu visit, he said.

For next year's expansion, CVS chose the new markets where Aetna had identified a higher likelihood of chronic disease among its health insurance members, Hourican said. CVS picked the stores, which he calls "no-brainer stores," because they're in places where Aetna members live and where CVS already has clinics.

CVS plans to work with other health insurers to map out future expansions, Hourican said. He said CVS isn't ready to disclose any plans publicly yet but said there's been "tremendous interest from health plans who want to partner with us."

HealthHUBs might look a bit different based on their locations, he said.

For example, a store in a community with a large Medicaid population might offer more health services than products since those communities tend to lack primary care services. A store in an area with a large population of new mothers might use the HealthHUBs' new wellness rooms to host classes before and after birth. Or a store in a place with many senior citizens might host bingo and mental games to tackle social isolation or memory acuity.

"We have a plan for a prototype store with a common HealthHUB experience," Hourican said. "As we go into other stores, we'll tweak them to meet the needs of the local community."