CVS is down the street – and in our community

You go to CVS to pick up your everyday items, but did you know that CVS is also committed to helping people achieve better health? One way CVS does this is by supporting organizations within the communities that their stores are located in through the CVS Health Community Grants Program. The goal of the program is to provide relief for both adults and children who lack medical insurance and to ensure they receive the proper medical care they need.

Erie Family Health Center was recently selected to receive a grant from CVS through the CVS Health Community Grants 2016 application process. This grant in particular will help Erie fund a critical program to support our patients struggling with chronic disease.

Seven of the top 10 causes of death in 2010 were from chronic disease – and heart disease and cancer together accounted for nearly 48% of all deaths. In response to the increased demand for holistic services that address every aspect of identifying and treating a chronic illness, Erie Family Health Center has developed a chronic disease management program that will impact the lives of over 8,500 patients struggling with diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses.

270The program not only connects youth and adults to health care resources, but also social services. Patients facing the challenges of chronic illnesses such as diabetes or heart disease may also be struggling with transportation issues or lack of access to a secure job. They may even be homeless. If an Erie care manager or care coordinator helps patients to manage both their disease and their social service needs like transportation, employment services, and housing, not only will their health improve but their prospects for finding steady work and family stability will increase.

Patients who are dealing with stressors can also connect to an Erie behavioral health clinician who will provide coping mechanisms to relieve stress and anxiety. Even if not all the stressors disappear, patients are better equipped with the tools to manage their circumstances.

Julia* is just one patient who has already benefited from Erie’s chronic disease management program. Julia came to Erie with a 10-month-old infant, saying she moved here from Texas and her only support system was her husband, who works full-time. A diabetic, Julia had severe back pain. She was out of her medications, and her blood sugar was out of control. Julia was paired with an Erie care manager who was able to schedule an appointment for Julia with a physician after completing her risk assessment. Her doctor gave her insulin, a prescription, and scheduled her for a follow up appointment. The care manager also referred Julia to a behavioral health therapist at Erie, who would give Julia the tools to feel better mentally, too.

Though Julia initially came to Erie wanting to go to the emergency room, after meeting with the primary care physician, the care manager, and having been personally connected to a behavioral health therapist, she felt more comfortable, listened to, and more calm. Julia thanked the care manager, saying she felt she had no other support network and felt glad to be enrolled in the program. With the care Julia will receive, we are confident her family will also benefit.

Erie Family Health Center is grateful for our partnership with CVS and proud to be a CVS Health Community Grants Awardee. Because of this grant, more people like Julia can feel better and become engaged participants who contribute to the wellbeing of our entire community.

*name changed to protect patient’s privacy