Recently one of my uninsured disability clients told me she was receiving healthcare at Wal-mart. When I looked it up, incredulously, it turns out Wal-mart is in the healthcare business. Wal-mart has 4000 stores located in medically underserved communities. Recently, the retail giant sought to address the needs of those communities’ access to healthcare.
Wal-mart expanded into clinical care by opening centers in Georgia and Texas in 2019. In September 2019, Wal-mart launched its first clinic, Wal-mart Health in Dallas, Georgia. Customers who are uninsured pay a flat fee of around $50. A variety of health care professionals allow patients to bundle services at one time. Wal-mart Health provides primary care, dental exams, X-rays, hearing services, mental health counseling, pharmacies and optical centers. Wal-mart Health now has locations in Newnan, Fayetteville, McDonough, Cartersville, Marietta and Woodstock.
In May Wal-mart acquired a telemedicine company MeMD. Last year, it acquired digital medical management company CareZone. Wal-mart contends it is focused on “value-based” care. This week Wal-mart and United Health Group announced a joint program to provide preventative healthcare for millions over age 65. Fifteen locations will open in Georgia and Florida next year. The plan is to provide seniors with healthcare through Medicare Advantage plans.
Wal-mart announced through its website that the “combined crises of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic recession and the subsequent loss of health insurance for millions of Americans have reinforced the vulnerabilities of our healthcare system. At Wal-mart we understand that this means our customers need us now more than ever.”