- Walmart Health plans to partner with an insurer and a health system in Florida in a bid to improve care coordination between its health centers and outside providers.
- The deal announced Tuesday includes Ambetter from Sunshine Health, which is operated by Centene and offers plans on the state’s Affordable Care Act marketplace, and Orlando Health, a system that includes 29 hospitals and free-standing emergency rooms as well as outpatient and urgent care centers in central Florida. It’s Walmart Health’s first patient care coordination agreement with a health system.
- The partnerships come as Walmart and other retailers have been expanding their presence in healthcare delivery. The store operator now runs 23 Walmart Health centers adjacent to locations in Florida, which offer primary care, labs, some imaging services, behavioral health and dental care.
Ambetter will include Walmart Health centers as a preferred provider in seven Florida counties through its Ambetter Value Plan as part of the partnership, the companies said in a press release. They will initially focus on patient engagement through care coordination and managing provider referrals.
Orlando Health aims to offer better care transitions and communication between Walmart Health centers and Orlando’s providers.
Launched in 2019, Walmart Health includes 48 locations in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois and Texas. The retail giant is planning to add dozens of new centers next year, and open clinics in Missouri, Arizona and Oklahoma for the first time.
But Walmart is hardly the only retailer competing for space in the U.S. healthcare market. CVS completed its $10.6 billion acquisition of primary care chain Oak Street Health and an $8 billion purchase of home care provider Signify Health earlier this year.
Walgreens is also focused on growing its U.S. Healthcare division, which includes medical group VillageMD. The chain and its recently acquired practice Summit Health are expected to be the most meaningful drivers of the segment’s growth in 2024, even as the retailer exits underperforming clinics in five regions next year, management said on a earnings call last month.
Amazon wrapped up its $3.9 billion buy of primary care chain One Medical earlier this year, too. Its telehealth marketplace Amazon Clinic, launched late in 2022, might also ink deals with physical providers to offer care its vendors can’t provide virtually, Nworah Ayogu, general manager and chief medical officer of Amazon Clinic, said at HLTH last month.