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In January 2023, pharmacy chain CVS made an investment of $100 million in Carbon Health—a primary care and urgent care operation—presumably to augment the limited scope of CVS’ existing MinuteClinic business. Now, CVS retail stores in the Northeast are starting to show signs of Carbon Health’s entrance. According to Salem News (Massachusetts), locations in the cities of Beverly and Swampscott are planning to open new in-store clinics that will replace and significantly expand on the existing MinuteClinic space, bringing the footprint of the new Carbon Health clinics to 3,100 square feet. Recall that in recent CVS moves, the retailer also floated its enhanced in-store HealthHUB clinic concept with additional provider types beyond what MinuteClinic offers, such as therapists and diabetes educators, but HealthHUB gained little traction. But expansion isn’t the only strategy for the new year: CVS is also in the process of closing as many as 900 retail stores by the end of 2024. 

The struggle to differentiate: “Converting a MinuteClinic to Carbon Health is expanding the scope of services in urgent care and primary care while further rationalizing the retail building,” says Alan Ayers, MBA, MAcc, president of Experity Consulting and Practice Management Editor of JUCM. “This differs from VillageMD, which is owned by Walgreens, in that VillageMD is a Medicare Advantage model servicing HMO members. Carbon Health is urgent care and primary care, open to all populations.” Carbon Health operates more than 125 brick-and-mortar clinics in 13 states, making it a viable competitor for urgent care business.

CVS Adds Large In-Store Clinic Space for Carbon Health