Walmart disclosed plans Thursday to open “Walmart Health” centers in the Tampa and Orlando, Florida markets and additional locations in Georgia that feature an array of primary medical services, dental care, and behavioral health services as part of a new model being replicated across the country.
Executives said the new centers build on the first 10,000 square foot facility that opened last fall in Dallas, Georgia, where Walmart shoppers and patients in the community have taken to the concept. Other sites are 6,000 square feet or more in Georgia and Arkansas and Jacksonville, Florida.
“We currently have six Walmart Health locations open with five in Georgia, including the opening in Cartersville yesterday, and one in Arkansas,” Walmart senior vice president and chief operating officer of Walmart U.S. Health & Wellness Lori Flees said Thursday.
“We plan to open seven more locations in Georgia by end of the fiscal year and two in the Chicago area this fall,” Flees added. “We’re also planning to open seven Walmart Health locations in the Jacksonville market in 2021, with at least one opening in early 2021, and we’re beginning conversations in the Orlando and Tampa markets. Our new health centers will be in communities in need of affordable, accessible preventive care, which we will help deliver through Walmart Health.”
Walmart Health’s announcement comes “one year in” to the effort on its new approach to primary medical care and executives say they have seen enough to continue expanding across the country.
“With the size and strength of Walmart, we knew we could make a difference by providing quality, preventive health services at affordable, transparent prices for all who need it – regardless of insurance status,” Flees said in her blog post on the Walmart Health website. “Walmart Health is having a real impact on increasing access to care in our communities, and there are more neighbors who need our help. The past few months in particular have exposed the vulnerabilities of our healthcare system and left many without access to adequate health resources.”
The new centers, like the first “Walmart Health” brand center in Dallas, Georgia, offer more services than the 19 “Care Clinics” that take up about 1,500 square feet inside stores elsewhere in Georgia, South Carolina and Texas. The retailer says the Care Clinics remain an important part of their healthcare offerings, but are more limited in service.
The move by Walmart Health deeper into Florida and Georgia comes as CVS Health opens hundreds of “HealthHubs” which include additional health and wellness items and services beyond what’s already available in the drugstore chain’s MinuteClinics. Meanwhile, Walgreens Boots Alliance has been partnering with an array of companies including an investment of more than $1 billion into the primary care company VillageMD. Walgreens is also testing everything from urgent care in attached centers operated by UnitedHealth Group’s Optum MedExpress unit to Partners in Primary Care Clinics for Medicare beneficiaries that are operated by Humana.
In Walmart’s case, executives last year described the new Walmart Health centers as “a super center for basic healthcare services.”
The larger Walmart Health Center puts “key health services under one roof,” a first for the world’s largest retailer when it comes to offering primary care, dental, optometry, counseling, laboratory tests, X-rays, hearing, wellness education and behavioral health.
Walmart Thursday said it is partnering with a maker of “medical modules” called BLOX to standardize its manufacturing process in order to build the health centers more quickly.
“This innovative collaboration allows us to tailor the Walmart Health design to meet the unique needs of the communities we serve, while also providing the necessary infrastructure to efficiently scale the model,” Flees said. “The Walmart Health in Newnan, Georgia, is the first location built with BLOX, with more to follow, including the new Cartersville location. Each new location will build on the successful prototype we launched last year, as we continue to learn and work to deliver the integrated quality care our customers want and deserve through Walmart Health.”