Update: This article has been updated from information from Mitchell Communications Group to correct previous errors. Walmart has not announced any further plans to open clinics other than those already scheduled for this year. The Walmart Care Clinics is a pilot program. The clinic scheduled to open in Rome, is for Rome, GA, not Rome, Italy as previously stated. Guardian Liberty Voice apologizes for the error.
Rumors have been going around for months that the big retailer, Walmart, would be venturing into the healthcare industry. As one of the leaders in pharmaceutical sales, the company then officially introduced their plan to open a health care service in the year of 2014. The Walmart Care Clinics is a pilot program and no further plans have been announced beyond those clinics slated to open this year. As part of this program, Walmart has introduced $40 doctor visits at these Care Clinics.
At what will be known as the Walmart Care Clinics, doctors visits are said to be $40 for the average customer and just $4 for Walmart employees, who are on the companies’ health plan. Dr. Daniel Stein who is the director of medical and clinical services for the company that is based in Bentonville, AR, said that this low cost was in an effort to drive down the cost of health care. An official location opened up Friday in Dalton, GA, where visitors to the Walmart Care Clinic can get the low cost doctor visit. The clinic will be offering “basic acute care and wellness checkups” and will be open 80 hours per week.
The clinic had their grand opening on Friday, where the many who were in attendance expressed their excitement over the low rates. The rate of $40 is said to be less than half of what Walmart customers and employees already pay at other retail clinics. Though Walmart clinics will charge extra for things like labs, screenings, and other added services, the low rate is said to hopefully give customers more money to spend on merchandise in the store. The company stated that they hope this will bring in more customers. According to sources, these alternative clinics are expecting to host services for 11 million patients per year, as consumers are starting to turn more to clinics in retail areas over traditional physician offices.
The competition, CVS, now has over 900 of their “MinuteClinics” and is expected to bring in 150 more before the end of the year. Though Walmart is getting a slower start, they are also foreseeing a large increase in their clinic amounts, hoping to gain just 17 more stores this year, but then hoping to add 4,400 clinics to its nationwide stores, once numbers are in and they can see that the investment would be worth the cost.
The retail company said that their first move would be to target the markets in which they had a large number of employees with a limited amount of medical markets. With over 1 million employees, the company said that it was important to them to secure locations that would benefit their employees more, though they say customers are showing just as much excitement over the opening of the clinics.
Walmart currently has 11 clinics that have been opened this year and are now hoping to open their next one in Rome, GA. The new location is said to open up on October 31.
The clinic will take customers with appointments, as well as walk-ins. Some of their services will include vaccinations, $3 pregnancy tests, $8 cholesterol tests, wellness exams, physicals, health screenings, diagnosis and treatments for flu and strep, and much more. It is said that only Nurse Practitioners will be on staff, though the clinics will be run under doctors. According to the company the practitioners will make referrals to other clinics and hospitals, when necessary.
By Crystal Boulware