USA — As part of its ongoing efforts to provide primary care and other services, Walmart has announced plans to add more than two dozen healthcare centers to some of its stores next year.
Walmart has been steadily growing its healthcare services since opening its first health center in 2019.
The retailer plans to operate more than 75 health centers by the end of next year, with the majority of the new centers being built in Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, and Kansas City.
These new centers will be located inside Walmart Supercenters and will offer a range of primary and dental care services, behavioral health, audiology assistance, and more.
Walmart makes its move as Amazon, CVS, and Walgreens have all made moves into primary care. Currently, Walmart operates 32 centers and is adding 17 more in Florida this year.
Walmart’s expansion into healthcare is not surprising given the retailer’s vast reach across the country.
With more than 4,700 stores in the United States and 600 Sam’s Club locations, Walmart is well-positioned to provide accessible and affordable healthcare services to millions of Americans.
According to a spokesperson, the centers will cater to patients of all ages. Additionally, Walmart is partnering with healthcare giant UnitedHealth Group to provide value-based care to some individuals with Medicare Advantage coverage.
These are privately run versions of the federal government’s Medicare program, mainly for people aged 65 and older.
Value-based care is a healthcare approach gaining popularity with bill payers such as the federal government.
Essentially, it rewards doctors for keeping patients healthy rather than compensating them for every service they provide.
The aim is to help patients stay on their medications, manage chronic health problems like diabetes, and avoid expensive hospital.
The expansion of pharmacies into primary healthcare provision in the United States is gaining momentum, with major players like CVS Health and Walmart leading the way.
Retail pharmacies, including Walmart Health, are expanding their primary care services and modifying their health centers to improve patient experience.
Walmart Health is integrating Epic’s electronic health record system across all of its locations, while offering various services such as labs, X-rays, behavioral health, dental services, and telehealth.
Other retailers, such as Amazon’s recent acquisition of One Medical and CVS Health’s purchases of Oak Street Health and Signify Health, are also moving aggressively into primary care.
VillageMD, backed by Walgreens Boots Alliance, purchased Summit Health-CityMD in a US$8.9 billion deal in October.
These retailers offer additional convenience and accessibility, making them viable competitors in the industry, according to healthcare industry analysts.
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