Walmart physician-led clinics gain steam: 10 things to know

Walmart is positioned to become an even stronger force in healthcare going forward, according to a new CNBC report.

Here are 10 things to know about the company's growth:

1. As of December 2020, Walmart had 15 physician-run clinic locations in the U.S. with plans to add at least seven more in 2021.

2. Ninety percent of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart store. Clinics offer walk-in appointments and extended hours.

3. A primary care office visit costs $40 at a Walmart clinic. The company provides annual check ups to adults for $30 and children for $20, regardless of insurance status.

4. Walmart health clinics include primary care physicians, dentists, audiologists, optometrists and mental health counselors. The clinics also offer services including X-ray imaging, diagnostic tests and drug screening.

5. There is a high cost to running physician-led clinics. Walmart's overall success has been due to hiring several low-paid workers at their stores, according to CNBC, which might not be possible as it expands. The average wage for a family physician in the U.S. is $213,000.

6. In 2019, Walmart partnered with Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield to use a "quality assessment filter" to select and partner with physicians in gastroenterology, orthopedics and more.

7. Walmart has a successful pharmacy business with around 15,000 pharmacists on staff as of 2019. However, it is No. 3 in the retail pharmacy space behind CVS and Walgreens.

8. More than 1 million Americans, including workers and families, had medical benefits through Walmart as of October 2019.

9. As of December 2020, the company had more than 600 COVID-19 testing sites that tested hundreds of thousands of people. The company is now administering the COVID-19 vaccine to healthcare workers in New Mexico.

10. In the 2020 fiscal year, Walmart reported $37.8 billion in net sales for its health and wellness division.

"Healthcare is notoriously complex," retail healthcare consultant James Gardner said in the CNBC report. "If you think about the delivery of care, there is so much of a personal touch required that it doesn't lend itself to Walmart's style of efficiencies. There has always been skepticism about Walmart's ability to provide the high-quality care experience, nevermind profitability, and nevermind that at a national scale."

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