- Walmart is opening five new Walmart Health locations in Florida starting Tuesday, adding to its footprint of 20 locations currently operational in Arkansas, Georgia and Illinois.
- The centers deliver primary and urgent care, labs, X-rays and diagnostics, dental, optical, hearing and behavioral health and counseling in one facility, with transparent pricing for patients at the point of service.
- The Florida locations will be the first Walmart Health centers to use a medical record built by health IT software giant Epic, which includes a patient portal for scheduling and bill pay, as part of a partnership announced last year.
Walmart has been focused on building out its omnichannel care offerings as it moves into direct healthcare delivery, leveraging telemedicine, home touchpoints and perhaps its biggest competitive advantage, a national network of more than 5,000 brick-and-mortar stores.
In 2019, Walmart launched its first Walmart Health 'superstore' in Dallas, Georgia. Since that first center, Walmart has invested millions in expanding its network of centers, which are geared at patients with no or poor insurance coverage in underserved areas.
When centers first launched in Georgia, Walmart's business model was offering what it called "disruptively low" cash prices, such as a flat $40 for an adult primary care visit, David Carmouche, Walmart's senior vice president of omnichannel care offerings, told Healthcare Dive.
"The current iteration is somewhat different," Carmouche said. Walmart contracts with roughly 90% of the payers in Florida for its new centers, and the fee for an annual adult checkup is $90.
"We're trying to be priced competitively with other players in the market," Carmouche said.
Walmart is vying with competitors like CVS and Walgreens in the race to expand primary care networks, as COVID-19 continues to drive demand for low-cost care outside of the doctor's office or hospital.
Walmart is interested in expanding its network of health centers to all 50 states. It's too early to officially announce next markets after Florida, though Walmart might open a few new clinics in Arkansas this year, Carmouche said.
The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer is eyeing states with aging demographics, growing populations and access challenges, which are most acute in rural America, for near-term growth, according to Carmouche.
Florida has the second-highest number of Walmart stores in the country, after Texas, and is where Walmart launched its $4 generic prescription program more than a decade ago. The state also has a large population of elderly patients with chronic health needs, making it ripe for players looking to provide low-cost preventive care.
Walmart's Florida centers were originally slated to open in 2021, but the company delayed the launches, wanting an enterprise EHR connecting its operations. The clinics will launch with Epic's technology, and Walmart plans to spend the remainder of the year integrating Epic's software into its existing stores, starting around May.
Walmart declined to share financial details of its partnership with Epic.
Walmart patients will have access to telemedicine seven days a week through MeMD, a telehealth provider Walmart acquired in May of last year. Walmart plans to rebrand MeMD soon to tie it into the corporate brand, Carmouche said.
On Sundays, the health centers will largely conduct virtual-first visits.
The retail giant has long been interested in healthcare, and has been building and buying assets in the areas of medication management, telemedicine and even health insurance plans.