Would you go to Walmart to see a doctor?
Walmart this month is opening a health clinic called Walmart Health in Georgia that will provide comprehensive and low-cost primary care. Services also include dental, hearing tests, counseling sessions, vision and hearing tests, and x-rays.
Walmart is opening the clinic in a separate building next to its store in Dallas, GA to provide an extra level of privacy for patients.
The store’s microsite, walmarthealth.com, asks visitors, “What type of appointment would you like to schedule?” and offers six pull-down menus: Medical, Immunizations, Dental, Optometry, Audiology and Behavioral.
In Walmart fashion, medical services appear inexpensive. Prices on walmarthealth.com (without insurance) are listed as $30 for a physical, $50 for a dental exam, $45 for an eye exam, $27.96 for a flu immunization and $60.00 for a 60-minute therapy consultation with a new patient.
Sean Slovenski, who Walmart recruited from Humana, is leading the clinic efforts.
“Walmart is committed to making healthcare more affordable and accessible for customers in the communities we serve,” the company said in a statement.
In reporting on the development, some suspect Walmart is looking to capture business from the uninsured. Others see Walmart seeking bigger opportunities beyond the low-margin pharmacy business. Walmart’s health and wellness revenues — including pharmacy, clinical and optical — have stalled as a percent of sales over the last four years despite opening a number of walk-in clinics.
Walmart has established urgent care centers, called Walmart Care Clinics, inside stores in Texas, Georgia and South Carolina. A deeper move into clinics would follow the trend away from inpatient to outpatient care as well as the greater availability of digital-healthcare options.
In addition to drug store chains and a possible entry into health care by Amazon.com, Walmart faces newer competitors “ranging from large health systems to emerging businesses like One Medical, Circle Medical and Forward,” according to CNBC.
To Walmart’s advantage, the company could support the health needs of its 1.5 million U.S. employees and the 140 million visiting its stores every week. The retailer could also play the hero in solving the crisis over rising health-care costs that will be a hot-button issue in the 2020 election.
- Walmart tests dentistry and mental care as it moves deeper into primary health – CNBC
- Walmart is launching its first standalone primary care clinic – CNBC
- Expect Walmart Health To Challenge CVS And Other Chains – Forbes
- Walmart tests the waters for digital healthcare – Digital Commerce 360
- Walmart Trims Pharmacy Jobs as Company Mulls Health Strategy – Bloomberg
- Walmart tests the waters for digital healthcare – Bisnow
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How far should/will Walmart venture into healthcare services? How do you stack up the pros and cons of Walmart’s move into offering primary care, dental and other advanced medical services?