CVS & WALGREENS PARTNER WITH LYFT TO GET BLUE CROSS PATIENTS TO PHARMACIES
Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans will expand a partnership with the ride-hailing company Lyft to provide enrollees a way for enrollees who don’t have adequate transportation to get to their neighborhood Walgreens and CVS pharmacies.
Bruce Japsen is a Forbes contributor covering healthcare, business and policy. He has written and reported for the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Modern Healthcare. Japsen is the author of the book, Inside Obamacare: The Fix for America’s Health Care System.
SHARE THIS POST
Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans will expand a partnership with the ride-hailing company Lyft to provide a way for enrollees who don’t have adequate transportation to get to their neighborhood Walgreens and CVS pharmacies.
As part of a new company known as the Blue Cross Blue Shield Institute, participating Blue Cross plans will soon begin to provide “no cost” transportation via Lyft to customers of Walgreens Boots Alliance and CVS Health in certain markets.
It builds on a relationship the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association announced last year with Lyft to provide “no-cost” transportation to the doctor’s office in an effort to improve compliance with healthcare appointments. By including the drugstore giants, Blue Cross hopes to improve medication adherence as well.
The companies say the effort by the Institute is an opportunity to reduce costs and improve outcomes for commercially insured enrollees who don’t have adequate access to transportation. Blue Cross plans are moving away from fee-for-service medicine to value-based care and population health models that make sure patients are getting quality care in the right place and at the right time.
“For some of our members, it can be difficult to get to a physician’s office for treatment, to the pharmacy for much needed medication, to the grocery store for nutritious food or to a safe place to exercise,” Blue Cross Blue Shield Association CEO Scott Serota said in announcing the new business. The association represents 36 independent Blue Cross companies across the country.
Specific financial terms of the latest partnerships with the Blue Cross institute weren’t disclosed. CVS will pay for Blue Cross customers in Pittsburgh “who live within select transportation deserts” to take Lyft rides to their pharmacies. A similar pilot program will involve Walgreens paying for Lyft rides to their pharmacies in Chicago “transportation deserts.”
“A growing number of Americans live in areas where medical care is beyond reach, even when they have health insurance,” CVS Health chief medical officer Dr. Troyen Brennan said. “We are committed to addressing issues that are inextricably linked to health outcomes and which are greatly improved when people have access to pharmacies.”
Though considered a pilot in certain markets now, Walgreens and CVS aren’t ruling out potentially expanding it after seeing how well it works in the first markets.
“This initiative brings greater accessibility to populations in need, and we look forward to bringing our growing range of pharmacy and health services to a larger population,” Walgreens vice president of health services, Nimesh Jhaveri said.
Using Lyft’s ride sharing services, Blue Cross insurers are hoping to better reach health plan members for “non-emergency care.” The Blue Cross institute has a database of 106 million of its health plan members that includes “zip code-level” community information such as transportation, nutrition and environment.
Transportation barriers result in “missed or delayed medical appointments” for more than 3.5 million Americans, the association has said. “Conservative estimates show 60 percent of health outcomes are driven by social determinants of health, including lifestyle behaviors and environmental factors,” said Dr. Trent Haywood, BCBSA chief medical officer and president of the BCBS Institute.
Credit: Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images