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(c) 2016 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

In Ambitious Bid, Walmart Seeks Foothold in Primary Care Services

Today's post was shared by The New York Times and comes from www.nytimes.com

Welcome to Walmart. The nurse will be right with you.

Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, has spent years trying to turn some of its millions of customers into patients, offering a simple menu of medical services that consumers can buy along with everything from a bag of chips to a lawn mower. Now, the store is making an aggressive push to become a one-stop shopping destination for medical care.

The company has opened five primary care locations in South Carolina and Texas, and plans to open a sixth clinic in Palestine, Tex., on Friday and another six by the end of the year. The clinics, it says, can offer a broader range of services, like chronic disease management, than the 100 or so acute care clinics leased by hospital operators at Walmarts across the country. Unlike CVS or Walgreens, which also offer some similar services, or Costco, which offers eye care, Walmart is marketing itself as a primary medical provider.

Like its competitors, Walmart is looking to grab a bigger share of the billions of health care dollars being spent in the United States and benefit from the changes that have resulted from the Affordable Care Act.

With its vast rural footprint, Walmart is positioning its primary care clinics in areas where doctors are scarce, and where medical care, with or without insurance, can be prohibitively expensive. If they succeed, the company said, it is prepared to open even more.

“If they’re rolling it out across the rural stores primarily,...

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