JUCM readers are well aware that Walmart has failed—multiple times—to establish a foothold as a healthcare provider. The concept, market, or locales have just never lined up right. They’re trying again, though, this time in partnership with primary care company Oak Street Health. The pair plan to open clinics in three Walmart supercenters in the Dallas–Fort Worth area this fall with an emphasis on preventive primary care and urgent care. What could make this effort different from Walmart’s past attempts is that Oak Street works on a capitation basis; they don’t need to draw high volumes of sick patients into Walmart in order for the initiative to pay off. Further, lower income elderly patients who rely on Medicare as their primary insurance are likely to overlap well with Walmart’s target demographic. On the other hand, those same elderly customers may not be inclined to navigate a gigantic Walmart location just to pick up their blood pressure medication. So, while it’s clearly a different approach, it remains to be seen whether there will be a different outcome. To learn more about the history of Walmart’s forays into the healthcare space, read Is Four Times a Charm for Walmart (or, Could Walmart Be a Threat to Urgent Care)? in the JUCM archive.
Walmart Tries Again to Draw Patients Away from Other Retailers—and from Urgent Care