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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."
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.
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.
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CVS stock closed at $63.61 per share at the end of Tuesday's trading session.