By Barbara Frankel
CVS Health demonstrated today its deep commitment to its community values by announcing plans to rebuild the two CVS pharmacies that were devastated by fire during last week’s protests in Baltimore. The company is also donating $100,000 to help rebuild the city.
Calling it “the right thing to do,” CVS Health President and CEO Larry Merlo stated: “As we watched the events unfold in Baltimore over the past week or so, our hearts turned from pain to the promise of what is ahead. Our purpose as a company is helping people on their path to better health. There is no better way that we can fulfill that purpose than to reopen our doors and get back to serving the community.”
This is not the first time CVS Health, one of DiversityInc’s 25 Noteworthy Companies, has stood up for its values, even at a potential financial cost. Last year, the company announced it would stop selling cigarettes, ending about $2 billion in tobacco products sales. President Obama singled out Merlo and CVS Health for this remarkable effort during the State of the Union.
The Baltimore decision is in line with the deep-rooted values of this company, which has more than 900 minute clinics in mostly urban areas in 31 states and the District of Columbia including Baltimore, but not at the two damaged stores. These clinics offer high-quality on-the-spot medical care and are staffed by nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants.
CVS has more than 24 stores and more than 500 employees in Baltimore, including the two stores being rebuilt at 2509 Pennsylvania Avenue and 2560 West Franklin Street. To help the employees at these stores during the closings CVS paid them for their regularly scheduled hours during the week of the protest and has enabled them to work in other CVS/pharmacy locations in the interim.
CVS spokesperson Mike DeAngelis said the company expects to announce the timeline for the rebuilding soon. “There has been a groundswell of support for the rebuilding because they serve such a strong community need.”
The company’s employees were all every positive about it. “We have a long history of serving inner-city communities and this is an employee population that is committed to this.”
The company also announced that the CVS Health Foundation made a $100,000 donation to the United Way of Central Maryland and the Baltimore Community Foundation “Fund for Rebuilding Baltimore” to provide support to people in hard-hit areas.
“We have a long history of serving inner-city communities and we are 100 percent committed to serving our patients and customers in Baltimore,” Merlo said.