A year after debuting its inaugural Walmart Health center, in Dallas, Georgia, Walmart is continuing to grow its health offering, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer revealed in a detailed blog post on its corporate website
“Our experience this year has made two things clear: Walmart Health is having a real impact on increasing access to care in our communities, and there are more neighbors who need our help,” wrote Lori Flees, SVP and COO, Walmart U.S. health and wellness, in the Sept. 17 post. “The past few months in particular have exposed the vulnerabilities of our health care system and left many without access to adequate health resources. We know our customers need us now more than ever, which is why we’re announcing an expansion of Walmart Health today.”
In addition to the six Walmart Health Centers currently operating in Georgia and Arkansas, the company plans to open seven more locations in Georgia by the close of the fiscal year, two in the Chicago area this autumn, and seven locations in the Jacksonville, Florida, area in 2021, with at least one opening early next year. Beyond that, according to Flees, the retailer is “beginning conversations in the Orlando and Tampa markets” in the Sunshine State.
Walmart is also teaming up with Blox, a Bessemer, Alabama-based medical module maker, to standardize its manufacturing processes as it expands Walmart Health. The partnership “allows us to accomplish more with less: faster, more efficient construction requiring fewer resources, allowing us to serve more customers, more quickly,” explained Flees. “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.”
She added that the Newnan, Georgia, Walmart Health Center was the first location built with Blox, with more to follow, among them the center that opened in Cartersville, Georgia, on Sept. 17.
Flees went on to observe that “Walmart Health is generating strong patient satisfaction for the price, quality and convenience of care we offer. Meanwhile, our clinicians report satisfaction with the integrated care model and the ability to address the diverse health needs of their communities.”
According to the retailer, it’s seeing an increase in visits, with more than half arranged by returning patients. Half of the patients come in for primary care, while the rest receive specialty care addressing such issues as optometry, dental and behavioral health needs. Further, Flees noted, “Our longest-standing Walmart Health Centers are seeing the largest shifts towards chronic care management and continuity of care, as the patient population responds to the quality and convenient care offered at Walmart Health.”