Former Optum exec to oversee CVS Health's healthcare delivery, behavioral health

When Amar Desai, MD, takes on his new role as CVS Health's president of healthcare delivery Oct. 17, he will be a key leader overseeing several areas, including behavioral health.

Dr. Desai will also oversee CVS Health's retail health and chronic disease management strategy. He has previous experience as president and CEO of the Pacific West region of Optum, where he oversaw an integrated delivery system of 20,000-plus physicians covering 2.5 million patients.

CVS Health delivers care virtually and in-person to communities across the U.S. and has a network of more than 40,000 physicians, pharmacists, nurses and nurse practitioners.

CVS Health offers mental health counseling via telehealth and in-person through the MinuteClinic. Services include counseling for depression, stress, anxiety and life adjustments. The company offers day and evening appointments, and its specialists have weekend hours as well.

CVS Health reports 92 percent of new patients are able to see a therapist for same-day visits or within seven days, and 82 percent of patients visiting the MinuteClinic for counseling report reduced depression symptoms.

In May, CVS Health and Morning Consult released a survey finding 59 percent of Americans experienced concerns about their mental health or the mental health of a family member and since the pandemic began, 56 percent said that society has become more comfortable talking about mental health. Around 74 percent of the employed adult respondents thought employers should offer resources and access to mental health services.

"The impact of isolation, loss, grief and burnout will affect our mental health for years to come," said Cara McNulty, president of behavioral health and mental well-being at CVS Health in a statement. "As a result, we continue to expand services and resources to meet the long-term needs of communities, workforces including our own and loved ones to make gains on our goal to reduce suicide attempts 20 percent among our membership by the year 2025, which is an imperative."

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