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How the CVS/Aetna Merger Will Affect FM

PRSM member CVS Health agreed to buy Aetna, one of the largest health insurers in the United States, for $69 billion on Sunday, December 3, 2017.

The merger could pose a serious threat to other drugstore giants—together, the companies touch most of the basic health services people regularly use, and with nearly 10,000 stores in communities across the country, the duo has an opportunity to turn CVS retail and pharmacy locations into miniature doctors’ offices.

CVS operates a chain of pharmacies and retail “MinuteClinic” locations Aetna could use to provide care directly to patients. The locations will be expanded to include space for wellness, clinical and pharmacy services, vision, hearing, nutrition and medical equipment in addition to products already offered. The community-based health hubs will be able to offer care for chronic illnesses, such as diabetes or heart disease, and perform lab work in-store.

With an increased emphasis on health services and treatment, CVS facility managers will face many new and varied challenges. Expanding or remodeling existing MinuteClinics, meeting new hygiene requirements, managing the installation and maintenance of specialized equipment and other unique facility needs will require new skills and new suppliers.

Seating to accommodate more patients could also be an issue. Chairs for MinuteClinics are usually placed outside of the clinic just steps away from shelves of merchandise—if the MinuteClinics expand, store layouts may need to be changed, or new space added in some stores. 

More foot traffic in stores could drive more sales for CVS, and another opportunity for FMs to make changes to the store layout. In a survey conducted by ChargeItSpot, 75 percent of customers who utilized buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) made additional in-store purchases. Similarly, if CVS becomes a healthcare destination, patients visiting the clinics have the convenience of picking up non-prescription medications and other grocery items CVS sells.

This merger could be a catalyst for new trends in retail stores with healthcare clinics. Similar companies, such as Walgreens’s Healthcare Clinic and Walmart’s Care Clinic, could follow suit and focus on expanding services in medical clinics to compete. Expanded services could require additional maintenance or store layout changes.

Click here to learn more about the CVS/Aetna transaction.

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