-- intro: The doctor won't necessarily see you at your local CVS/Pharmacy, but maybe a nurse practitioner or physician assistant will. By changing its name to CVS Health from CVS Caremark, the company says it hopes to reflect a "broader health care commitment," for a price of course.
The Rhode Island-based publicly traded corporation today announced that it has eliminated tobacco sales from all its locations nearly one month ahead of its previous goal of Oct. 1. Instead, it offers a range of services for busy consumers who find the company "MinuteClinics" handy and those bewildered by health insurance issues. Insurance isn't even accepted for certain services, like physicals, at MinuteClinics.
The company owns 900 of the walk-in medical clinics, in addition to 7,700 retail pharmacies. Its pharmacy benefits manager has nearly 65 million plan members, the company says. It's not clear how many CVS locations employ nurse practitioners or simply bring in contracted ones. MinuteClinic employs physician assistants in Minnesota, North Carolina, Nevada and Texas, according to the CVS website.
Vishnu Lekraj, a senior analyst with Morningstar, said CVS' pharmacy benefits manager, which it acquired when it bought Caremark in 2007, is the company's main driver of business. The service helps health insurers and employers manage drug benefit plans for their members or customers.
CVS lists various health restrictions on its website (MinuteClinic only treats patients 18 months and older) and caveats that some lab work may require an additional charge.
Here are some of the services offered and how much they cost at CVS:
quicklist: title: Vaccinations category: $31.99 to $234.99 text: Seasonal flu vaccinations range from $31.99, while the one for HPV (human papillomavirus) is $234.99, according to CVS' website.
quicklist: title: Physicals category: $28 to $109 text: Going to camp or college but need a physical before you can be admitted? There's a CVS for that. The company lists more than 15 services under "wellness and physicals" on its website. Among the cheapest is the $28 TB test. The priciest is a $109 "DOT physical." Yup, that's for commercial drivers to meet the Department of Transportation's regulatory requirements.
quicklist: title: UTI Treatment category: $79 to $99 text: CVS customers can potentially see a nurse practitioner or physician assistant, no appointment necessary, to even treat a urinary tract and bladder infection. The service is limited to females 12 or older and excludes pregnant women. The CVS site states that patients with severe vomiting will be directed elsewhere.
Other minor illnesses, including pink eye and mononucleosis (mono), can be treated in the same price range of $79 to $99.
quicklist: title: Health Screenings category: $59 to $69 text: Among the screenings offered at certain CVS MinuteClinics are those for cholesterol, diabetes (glucose) and health screenings that measure blood pressure and body mass index.
The company says it offers a "variety of screening services and packages."
quicklist: title: Monitoring text: $79
CVS touts that it can help customers "stay on top of a chronic condition."
"Our practitioners provide routine tests, instant results and educational support for those diagnosed with diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure. We also offer convenient A1c checks for those with diabetes," according to its website.
quicklist: title: Skin conditions category: $79 to $99 text: Lice? Eczema? Ringworm? Shingles? CVS MinuteClinics claim to offer "affordable" health care solutions to these conditions.
quicklist: title: Labs and tests category: $21 to $33 text: A pregnancy test is $22 at CVS, and so is one for mono. Eleven prices are listed on CVS' website in total. A cholesterol screen, or lipid panel, is the most expensive on CVS' web list: $37,