CVS Health, in an effort to reduce labor costs, intends to lay off 288 employees at its Aetna regional benefits office in Plantation as the healthcare giant moves to cut its national work force by 5,000 people, the company acknowledged Tuesday.
The local cutbacks, which will be permanent, will affect employees who work in offices at 261 N. University Drive, first reported in a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notice filed with the state of Florida and confirmed by a CVS Health spokesman.
“As a result of this decision, employee terminations will be conducted beginning on October 21, 2023,” wrote Jennifer Bailey, a CVS labor relations executive for the company, which is headquartered in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. “All employees who will be terminated as a result of this action have been notified of their specific separation dates and that their separation from employment will be permanent.”
Many of the affected employees are managers, supervisors, analysts, data engineers, customer care pharmacists and actuary executives, according to the notice to the state. The job classifications affected the most were Rx call center technicians, which lost 48 positions, and Rx customer care pharmacists, which lost 33 positions.
Office to remain open
Despite the deep cuts, “the office is not closing,” said CVS spokesman Michael DeAngelis.
He offered no figures on how many workers remain.
The layoffs follow a wide-ranging job losses in various industries nationwide as corporations seek to preserve profit margins eroded by high inflation. Although Florida has enjoyed high rates of business and job creation this year along with low rates of unemployment, the healthcare, technology and transportation sectors have been vulnerable to employment cutbacks.
“Our industry is evolving to adapt to new consumer health needs and expectations,” the company said in a statement forwarded by a spokesman to the South Florida Sun Sentinel on Tuesday. “As part of an enterprise initiative to reprioritize our investments around care delivery and technology, we must take difficult steps to reduce expenses. This unfortunately includes the need to eliminate approximately 5,000 non-customer facing positions across CVS Health.”
The company added it does not expect any impact on customer service workers in its stores, pharmacies, clinics, or customer services centers.
Those who are being laid off “will receive severance pay and benefits, including access to outplacement services,” the statement said.
“We do not anticipate there will be any impact to our clients and customers as we remain focused on our mission — continuing to provide the exceptional care and support our customers, patients and communities deserve and depend on,” the statement added. “Throughout our company’s history, we’ve continuously adapted to market dynamics to lead the industry. The difficult decision we are making will set the company up for long-term success.”
The company employs about 300,000 people.
Broward County Mayor Lamar Fisher and Plantation Mayor Nick Sortal both received copies of the layoff notice.
Fisher said he is confident those who are losing their jobs should be able to find new ones “very quickly” as the county’s job market is filled with vacancies.
In 2021, CVS closed 900 stores, constituting nearly 10% of its retail operation as it sought to adjust to changing “consumer buying patterns.”
In 2019, Aetna, then newly merged with CVS Health, closed its mail-order prescription delivery operation in Plantation and eliminated 106 South Florida jobs.
The decision arose from the consolidation of functions within the newly combined company, which was formed in a $70 billion merger deal in November 2018.