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Walmart is pumping the brakes on expansion plans for its superstore health clinics, a decision that parallels a similar trend among other national retailers that have reconsidered the scale of their care operations recently, according to news in Healthcare Dive. The retail giant was aiming to offer 75 store-based health clinics by the end of this year but has now targeted 2025 for that milestone instead. “The current iteration of Walmart Health launched in 2019 and was designed to remedy past challenges with limited-scope clinic models by physically separating the clinic from the store and by consolidating a broader scope of services in one clinic, including primary care with x-ray, dental, vision, and hearing aids,” says Alan Ayers, MBA, MAcc, president of Experity Consulting and Senior Editor of JUCM. “It subsequently became a Medicare primary care medical home in affiliation with United Healthcare’s AARP plan. Outcomes seemed strong, although some questioned the profitability of the model.” Significant management changes also took place, according to Ayers.

Room to grow: At this point, Walmart is now on its 5th or 6th iteration of a retail care-delivery model. The current iteration has 75 clinic sites after 5 years under the shadow of 4,600 Walmart retail store locations nationwide. “While each iteration has been launched with tremendous media coverage, none has achieved a material saturation of its own stores, and some have simply faded into obsolescence,” he continues. “Given the resources of Walmart, however, these learnings seem prudent, and it seems many in healthcare still view it as a ‘wait and see.’”

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Walmart Slows the Pace of Health Clinic Expansion