The plan moving forward, according to protesting pharmacists, is that CVS will provide additional staffing at the stores, as well as paid overtime would be available. Details of the plan have not been released.
"We’re committed to addressing concerns that have been raised by our pharmacists and are developing a sustainable, scalable action plan that can be put in place in any market where support may be needed," Amy Thibault, lead director of external communications for CVS Pharmacy, told SN.
The stores’ online vaccination appointment schedulers have been temporarily suspended, and pharmacists can now cancel vaccination appointments without facing repercussions.
The deal does not outline exactly how new employees will be hired and trained, which the pharmacists say is still a concern.
The CVS pharmacists made good on a total of two walkouts which temporarily closed 22 stores in Kansas City, according to some reports.
CVS would only confirm that 10 locations were impacted, USA Today reported.
CVS issued an apology following the first walkout earlier in the week, as pharmacists planned a second protest and encouraged other pharmacists across the nation to join them.
Executives flew to Kansas City to try and work out a deal, and afterwards Prem Shah, chief pharmacy officer and president of pharmacy and consumer wellness for CVS, issued a memo apologizing for not acting sooner.
In the memo, Shah promised a series of measures to alleviate concerns. Some of those steps included providing “additional resources” to stores, adjusting appointments, filling open positions, and removing unnecessary tasks for pharmacists.
Michael DeAngelis, CVS’ executive director of corporate communications, said an industry-wide shortage of pharmacists has made it difficult to appropriately staff the chain’s more than 9,000 pharmacies throughout the nation, which was exacerbated by the stress caused by shortages and surging demand for immunizations.
“We recognize that there’s an industry-wide shortage of health care providers – including pharmacists – and that this is a busy time of year due to the high customer demand for seasonal vaccinations. We’re focused on addressing the concerns raised by our pharmacists so we can continue to deliver the high-quality care our patients depend on,” Thibault told SN following the first walkout.
Following the meeting with CVS executives, pharmacists say they are hopeful that the promises will be kept. They also say they want the commitment to extend to workers beyond the Kansas City CVS pharmacies.