Wal-Mart Wants To Be Your Doctor

After years of "Will they or won’t they?" discussion, Wal-Mart is making its long-awaited move into delivering primary care: The retailer has quietly opened half a dozen primary care clinics across South Carolina and Texas and plans to launch six more before January.

The clinics will be staffed by nurse practitioners in a partnership with QuadMed.

Wal-Mart watchers know the company already has more than 100 "retail clinics" across its stores, a strategy it's pursued for years. So why fuss over a handful of new clinics?

Because unlike those retail clinics -- which Wal-Mart hosts through leases with local hospitals, resulting inmixed success -- these new clinics are fully owned by the company and branded explicitly as one-stop shops for primary care.

Because the clinics will be open longer and later than competitors: 12 hours per day during the week and another 8-plus hours per day on weekends.

And because of the company's size and scale: Wal-Mart's potential as a disruptive innovator in healthcare is essentially peerless.

The company's move comes at an ideal time to capture consumers: Millions of Americans are getting insurance coverage through Obamacare, and seeking new, convenient sources of care. Wal-Mart's stressed that its clinics will be a low-cost alternative to traditional options: Walk-in visits will cost just $40.

And for the hundreds of thousands of Wal-Mart employees covered by the company health plan, well, it's even cheaper.

"For our associates and dependents on the health plan, you can come and see a provider in the Wal-Mart Care Clinic for $4. Four dollars!" Jennifer LaPerre, a company official, said last week. "That is setting a new retail price in the health care industry," she added.


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
WITN

275 E. Arlington Blvd. Greenville, NC 27858 252-439-7777
Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 270575991 - witn.com/a?a=270575991
Gray Television, Inc.