Walmart delivers regionalized health care with new clinic model
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart clearly is not unique in the fact that some of its stores offer access to an in-store health clinic, but what is unique is that several years ago, the retail giant decided to scrap its retail clinic model of partnering with a handful of independent operators in favor of a more regionalized, healthcare system-driven model.
“As part of our commitment to be a ‘Store of the Community,’ these clinics are connected to the communities they serve via local hospitals and health systems that the community already knows and trusts. The clinics are designed to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of our country’s healthcare system,” the retailer stated.
Dubbed “The Clinic at Walmart,” the facilities offer routine “get well” and “preventative” visits that typically cost $50 to $65. Like other retail-based health clinics, The Clinic at Walmart offers treatments for such common ailments as sore throats, sinus infections, upper respiratory infections, bladder infections and earaches. The locations also offer routine testing and procedures, including cholesterol screening, blood sugar testing, vaccinations and routine physicals.
As of press time, there were 98 in-store clinics in Walmart stores across 22 states. The most recent opening took place on Nov. 15 at a Walmart in Peoria, Ill., via a partnership with OSF Medical Group. It marked the first walk-in health clinic to be owned and operated by OSF Medical Group in a Walmart.
The Peoria-area OSF Medical Group has more than 85 doctors and mid-level providers in 22 locations throughout Peoria and surrounding communities, including Roanoke, Washington and Hopedale. Just one month prior, Walmart celebrated the opening of The Clinic at Walmart in Nevada’s Spanish Springs, operated by Saint Mary’s Medical Group.
Additional partnerships that Walmart has inked include St. Vincent Health System in Arkansas, Portneuf Medical Center in Idaho, Baptist Healthcare System in Kentucky and Christus Medical Group in Louisiana, among others.
By partnering with local healthcare systems such as these, the retailer is taking a more regionalized, healthcare system-driven approach, and is looking to leverage local hospitals and health systems that residents likely already know and visit for their healthcare needs. Furthermore, if a clinic patient does not have a primary care provider when he or she stops by The Clinic at Walmart then these partnerships can further facilitate that relationship and connect the patient with a primary care physician.
“We are confident that our model of partnership with hospital systems will provide access to quality healthcare services for folks who don’t want to wait in a busy emergency room or can’t get in to see their physicians,” stated John Agwunobi, president of Walmart’s health-and-wellness division.