- Walgreens and Grand Blanc, Michigan-based McLaren Health Care this week announced a strategic collaboration aimed at improving health and pharmacy services, the latest in a string of industry vertical pacts.
- Under the agreement, McLaren will offer retail health clinic, urgent care and primary care services within Walgreens stores throughout Michigan.
- In addition, Walgreens will acquire the prescription files and pharmacy inventory of McLaren pharmacies in the state and operate onsite pharmacies at select McLaren facilities.
More deals are being struck between big retailers and providers and payers as companies like Walgreens look to offer customers more convenient, accessible and low-cost healthcare options.
This latest transaction comes as the $69 billion CVS Health and Aetna merger is all but wrapped up. Last week, the Department of Justice said it would not challenge the union so long as the companies divest Aetna's Medicare Part D business. That’s already in the works with Aetna's pending sale of the business to a subsidiary of WellCare. DOJ had made the sale of the Part D plan a condition for approving the merger.
CVS and Aetna shareholders voted in March to approve the deal, which is expected to close before the end of the year.
The Michigan deal will allow McLaren patients, health plan members and 26,000 employees to access Walgreens prescription services at any Walgreens pharmacy. The integrated care delivery system owns and operates 14 hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, imaging centers, primary and specialty care networks and other services, including retail medical equipment showrooms, in Michigan and Indiana.
"As the cost of healthcare continues to rise, patients' expectations are evolving around better value, convenience and simplicity, and a desire for instant, high-quality care," Pat Carroll, Walgreens chief medical office and group vice president for healthcare services and clinical programs, said in a statement. "Our collaboration with McLaren, demonstrates our ongoing commitment to create neighborhood health destinations that provide retail health services and patient care across the communities we serve."
Walgreens is also attempting to establish its brand as a source for price transparency. In July, the retailer launched a digital marketplace, Find Care Now, aimed at connecting its mobile and online visitors to Walgreens clinics and healthcare services, as well as providers located across the U.S. The platform is available 24/7 and lists prices for services ranging from lab tests to hearing specialists, physician house calls and telemedicine consultations.
Seventeen providers signed on to participate in the marketplace, including NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Advocate Health Care, MedExpress Urgent Care and MDLive.