CVS to return $43M in coronavirus stimulus payments

CVS to return $43M in coronavirus stimulus payments

CVS Health announced in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Tuesday that the company will return roughly $43.3 million it received in payments through the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund.

“As you know, CVS Health did not solicit these funds but received them as part of an automatic distribution by the Department of Health and Human Services,” CVS President & CEO Larry Merlo wrote. “We have made the decision to return the funds and forgo participation in subsequent disbursements.”

Merlo hopes returning the funds will allow HHS to provide additional support to other providers facing “significant financial challenges” as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“In my view, returning these funds is part of CVS Health’s overall plan to do everything we can to help the communities we serve respond to the pandemic,” Merlo added. “We look forward to our continued partnership.”

Larry Merlo, CEO of CVS, speaks about the coronavirus in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, April 27, 2020, in Washington, as President Donald Trump listens. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Merlo said CVS plans to establish an additional 1,000 COVID-19 testing sites at select CVS Pharmacy drive-thru locations by the end of May.

“Recognizing that underserved communities are disproportionately affected by the virus, more than half of those sites will serve communities with the greatest need as measured by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Social Vulnerability Index,” Merlo added.

Cars idle in line as patients wait to self-take a COVID-19 virus test at a drive-thru for the CVS Pharmacy in Danvers, Mass., Friday, May 15, 2020. CVS has expanded its testing sites. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

CVS will also waive deductibles and cost-sharing for telemedicine visits and inpatient admissions for treatment of COVID-19 or health complications associated with the virus. The company recently waived out-of-pocket costs for in-network primary care visits for Medicare Advantage members through Sept. 30.

I thought that the CARES program was for small businesses ?  Since when does a publicly traded company with a market value of 530 BILLION dollars could be classified as a SMALL BUSINESS ?  Maybe the CFO thought that there would be so many applications that their claim for 43 million would just be lost in the avalanche of applications. According that this  that money would have paid CVS’ President Larry Merlo’s salary wage package for about TWO YEARS..

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