Little Village neighbors decry plans to close CVS pharmacy

Members of the Little Village group gathered Friday to ask CVS to rethink its choice to close its pharmacy within the neighborhood, saying residents would wish to journey too far to get their prescriptions crammed.

The retailer, which is situated at 2634 S. Pulaski Road, is about to close June 7, CVS Health confirmed.

twenty second Ward Ald. Michael Rodríguez mentioned his office had acquired “a number of phone calls primarily from seniors in the neighborhood, worried about where they’re going to go and fulfill their prescriptions.” He mentioned he discovered concerning the closure a number of weeks in the past.

“We don’t want to see another blighted business in our community,” he mentioned.

Rodríguez’s office requested CVS to rethink closing the pharmacy in a May 18 letter signed by native elected officers together with U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia and state senator Celia Villanueva, in addition to group and well being organizations together with Enlace Chicago, Howard Brown Health, Instituto del Progreso Latino and the Saint Anthony and Sinai Chicago hospitals.

The letter notes that the following closest CVS pharmacy is situated in Cicero, about two and a half miles away from the Little Village location. Neighborhood residents with out automobiles will want to take one or two buses to fill their prescriptions, the letter mentioned.

In a press release, CVS Health mentioned all prescriptions on the location could be transferred to its Cicero retailer, and that sufferers also can select to switch to different CVS pharmacies. The company declined to touch upon what number of prescriptions it fills on the Little Village location.

“Maintaining access to pharmacy services in historically underserved communities is an important factor we consider when making store closure decisions,” the company’s assertion mentioned. “Other factors include local market dynamics, cultural and language barriers, consumer buying patterns, a community’s store density, and ensuring there are other geographic access points to meet the needs of the community, including COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.”

There is a Walgreens Pharmacy situated down the road from the Little Village CVS at twenty sixth Street and PulaskiRoad. But some sufferers received’t have the ability to switch their drugs there due to the choice by Aetna, which is owned by CVS, to drop Walgreens from its Aetna Better Health of Illinois Medicaid community in December 2020.

At the time, critics of the Aetna choice instructed the Tribune the choice was affecting poor and majority-Black neighborhoods on the town’s South and West sides. Aetna mentioned in a press release in December 2020 that the choice “has not created or contributed to network access issues.”

“We meet or exceed all of the state’s access requirements for managed care organizations,” the assertion from Aetna mentioned. “In fact, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services has reviewed our updated network and determined it ensures equity.”

Last year, CVS introduced it will close 900 U.S. shops over three years. In a press release Friday, the company mentioned it was within the means of transferring staff on the Little Village CVS to different shops. The chain at the moment has practically 70 areas in Chicago.

“The organizations I represent believe that health care is a human right,” mentioned Anne Scheetz of Physicians for a National Health Program Illinois and the Illinois Single-Payer Coalition, talking on the Friday information convention. “That it is not a commodity to be available only to those who have money.”

Scheetz mentioned she lives in Logan Square and that there are 4 CVS pharmacies inside strolling distance of her home. “They are adding stores in wealthy neighborhoods,” she mentioned. “And they’re closing them in these neighborhoods. That ain’t right.”

The closure was introduced through the “context of a worldwide pandemic that continues to rage,” mentioned Raoul Contreras of the group Mi Villita Neighbors.

Speakers Friday famous Little Village had been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, the 60623 ZIP code, which incorporates the neighborhood, had probably the most virus-related deaths in Cook County.

Jesús Del Toro, a spokesperson for Garcia, mentioned Friday that the congressman had organized a meeting with CVS’s federal affairs groups “to relay the concerns of Little Village community members and health advocates about the announced closure.”

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