Optum, Walmart, Rite Aid & Walgreens are scaling back healthcare ventures

Healthcare giants Optum, Walmart, Rite Aid and Walgreens have recently announced plans to scale back healthcare offerings, sparking concerns about care access. 


Optum, parent company of ASC chain SCA Health, announced it is shuttering its telehealth business, Optum Virtual Care. Launched in 2019, it offers virtual access to providers at any time. 

"Virtual care has been and will continue to be a core part of our comprehensive, integrated care delivery model designed to provide care to people where, when and how they prefer," an Optum spokesperson told Becker's. "We continually review the capabilities and services we offer to meet the growing and evolving needs of our businesses and the people we serve. As always, we will support affected team members with job placement resources and seek to deploy them where possible to any open roles within the company."

Optum is still seeing rapid growth, particularly in physician employment. Optum added nearly 20,000 physicians in 2023, bringing its total to 90,000 affiliated physicians. 

In March, Optum announced plans to acquire Dallas-based Steward Health Care's physician group and received approval to bypass a state review of its planned purchase of physician-owned Corvallis (Ore.) Clinic

Rite Aid:

Rite Aid has shuttered more than 520 locations since it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October. Of the closures, 103 are in Pennsylvania, 101 are in California and 61 are in New York. 

Although the company is working on a deal with bondholders to exit bankruptcy, the closures are one-fourth of the 2,111 stories it operated in October. 

"In connection with the court-supervised process, we notified the court of certain underperforming stores we are closing to further reduce rent expense and strengthen overall financial performance," a Rite Aid spokesperson told Becker's in April, when bankruptcy court filings revealed the company had plans to shutter additional locations. "At this time, we have not made or confirmed any decisions on additional specific store closures as part of our financial restructuring process."


Walgreens' VillageMD has made plans to pull out of several markets in 2024 – it has exited Illinois, Indiana and Florida and has plans to leave the Nevada market. It has six clinics in Illinois, which closed April 19, 40 clinics in Florida, which closed in March; 12 clinics in Indiana, which closed earlier this year; and six clinics in Nevada, which will close by the end of the year. 

Additionally, VillageMD also sold 11 clinics in Rhode Island to Boston-based management company Arches Medical Partners in March.

Walgreens bought a majority stake in the primary care company in 2021 for $5.2 billion, but it has since been devalued and is part of Walgreens' strategy to cut $1 billion in costs this year.


Walmart Health is closing all 51 of its clinics, which offer primary care, dental and mental health services, and shutting down its virtual care services. The decision comes amid reimbursement challenges and heightened operating costs. 

Launched in 2019, Walmart Health has since partnered with Orlando Health, Centene's Ambetter from Sunshine Health and UnitedHealth Group for various deals. The move comes after the company indicated it would expand its healthcare footprint —  last year, Walmart said it would open 28 new Walmart Health center locations, aiming to have more than 75 health centers across the U.S. by the end of 2024.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Webinars

Featured Whitepapers

Featured Podcast