Friday, August 8, 2014

Walmart's push into medical care

Posted By on Fri, Aug 8, 2014 at 6:42 AM

Walmart has long worked on adding health care related services to stores. Bodies in stores are bodies in stores. Sick bodies don't just go to pharmacies, they buy milk, too.

Here's a report from the New York Times on the company's heightened push into full-service medical business. By the end of the year, it will have six primary care clinics in its stores, on top of some 100 acute care clinics in stores around the country leased to hospital operators (several operate in Little Rock-area stores).

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.

The punch line: A big shoutout to Obamacare.

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.

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