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  • JCI Worldwide

Reflections on the Community Health Advocates Event with SCLC

By: JCI Staff

Los Angeles, CA: On May 6, JCI had the pleasure to partner with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) of Southern California to facilitate a conversation between community leaders and our client, CVS Health, about health care needs and priorities.

Over forty union, faith, and social justice leaders gathered at McCarthy Memorial Christian Church in Los Angeles, introduced their organizations and shared their thoughts and stories about health care. Attendees raised concerns about high prescription drug costs, COVID-19 testing

and vaccinations, generic vs. name-brand prescriptions, and insurance coverage of costs–important topics that greatly influence the lives of so many people. We heard personal anecdotes around people’s experience with high prescription drug costs and others brought up concerns around environmental factors and the effects of pollution on the community.

Pastor Thembekila Smart facilitated the conversation, and CVS’s Cassandra Hoch provided the community leaders an explanation of what pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) are and why they are so important.

PBMs administer prescription drug benefits and prices. By negotiating with drug companies, PBMs help health plan sponsors like employers, unions, and public health programs, as well as their employees/members keep prescription drug costs as low as possible.

PBMs also help establish pharmacy networks, which are groups of pharmacies that have contracted with a health plan or a PBM to provide medication and care at a discounted price. In-network pharmacies offer more affordable prescriptions, as opposed to out-of-network pharmacies which can get very expensive.

During this lively conversation, Hoch explained that PBMs seek to provide cheaper, better access to prescription drugs. Hoch also spoke about CVS Health’s role in communities across the state.

CVS played a ‘listening’ role throughout the event, and will continue to find ways to to address the comments that community leaders shared. JCI was thrilled with the success of the event, and looks forward to facilitating more productive conversations between community members and CVS.


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