Walmart may be the largest, but it is not the only retailer offering clinical laboratory testing and primary care services at conveniently-located retail stores

Earlier this month in “How Walmart Plans to Take Over Health Care,” CNBC asked, “Is Walmart the future of healthcare?” Good question. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Walmart (NYSE:WMT) managed to open six Walmart Health locations in Georgia and Arkansas. In addition, the giant retailer announced plans to open more primary care clinics at Walmart Supercenters in Chicago and Florida.

Clinical laboratory managers who struggle to keep revenues flowing should take notice. These retail clinics may not have their own medical laboratories, but their primary care physicians will be generating lab specimens.

And because Walmart offers medical laboratory tests at these locations, with so many people opting to visit health clinics installed within retail stores, independent clinical labs could see a noticeable drop in business as Walmart Health expands its network across the US.

Therefore, clinical labs near Walmart Health locations would be wise to develop strategies and services toward becoming a lab test provider to these retail clinics.

Walmart Health Eyes Florida Primary Care Market

“The past few months in particular have exposed the vulnerabilities of our healthcare system and left many without access to adequate health resources,” said Lori Flees, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Walmart US Health and Wellness, in a blog post. “We know our customers need us more than ever, which is why we’re announcing an expansion of Walmart Health.

“We’re planning to open seven Walmart Health locations in the Jacksonville [Florida] market in 2021, with at least one opening in early 2021, and we’re beginning conversations in the Orlando and Tampa markets. Our new health centers will be in communities in need of affordable, accessible preventive care, which we will help deliver through Walmart Health,” Flees wrote.

Exterior and interior images of Walmart Health Clinic with customers sitting on a blue couch in the lobby
Walmart could be operating 22 Walmart Health locations like that shown above in Georgia, Florida, Arkansas, and Illinois by the end of 2021, Fierce Healthcare reported. This means Walmart Health may double its locations by the end of this year. Clinical laboratories near these locations may want to reach out and offer lab testing services to these retail clinics. Notice that, in the picture of the exterior of a Walmart Health clinic, “Labs” is a service that is prominently displayed as one of the important clinical services offered at that site. (Photo copyright: Walmart.)

Can Clinical Laboratories Compete or Collaborate with Walmart?

A news release announcing the opening of the Walmart Health Centers in Chicago stated that Walmart Health partners with “local, on-the-ground health providers to deliver primary care, labs, x-ray and diagnostics, counseling, dental, and hearing services all in one facility at transparent pricing regardless of a patient’s insurance status.”

However, clinical laboratories wanting to be a testing provider to Walmart Health may have to keep their costs of tests and services down in order to be competitive.

As Dark Daily reported in “Walmart Opens Second Health Center Offering Clinical Laboratory Tests and Primary Care Services,” Walmart Health’s lab test prices—in conjunction with primary care services—are low. Some of those tests include:

  • Primary care physician office visit – $40
  • Lipid – $10
  • Hemoglobin A1c – $10
  • Pregnancy Test – $10
  • Flu Test – $20
  • Strep Test – $20
  • Mono Test – $20

Walmart Health’s “Summary Price List” provides a complete list of medical laboratory tests and services offered at the retail clinics.

Other Primary Care Disruptors

Walmart is not the only retailer offering primary care services amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) partnered with VillageMD, a provider of primary care services, to open 500-700 “Village Medical at Walgreens” primary care clinics “in more than 30 US markets in the next five years, with the intent to build hundreds more thereafter,” according to a news release.

Exterior image of Village Medical at Walgreens primary care site medical clinic
By end of summer 2021, 40 “Village Medical at Walgreens” primary care sites (above) are expected to open in Texas, Arizona, and Florida, according to a January 2021 news release. Walgreens is investing $1 billion over three years in the clinics, which will be situated near its stores. “Through these conveniently located clinics at our neighborhood stores, we will uniquely integrate the pharmacist as a critical member of VillageMD’s multi-disciplinary care team to provide patients with personalized and coordinated care,” said Stefano Pessina, Walgreens Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, in the news release. (Photo copyright: Walgreens Boots Alliance.)

Meanwhile, Forbes reported that CVS Health is intent on opening 1,500 more HealthHUB locations in its stores during 2021. In “Walgreens, CVS Add New Healthcare Services and Technology to Their Retail Locations; Is Medical Laboratory Testing Soon to Be Included?Dark Daily reported on CVS Health’s pilot program to test several HealthHUB locations in Houston that would offer expanded Minute Clinic services. These services include:

  • medical laboratory blood testing,
  • health screening,
  • telehealth visits,
  • durable medical and sleep apnea equipment, and
  • wellness programs.

Clinical laboratory managers and pathologists will want to be on the alert for opportunities to forge relationships with Walmart Health, Walgreens, and CVS Health to capture new primary care-related testing business coming out of these non-traditional healthcare providers.

—Donna Marie Pocius

Related Information:

How Walmart Plans to Take Over Health Care

Two Newly Remodeled Chicago Supercenters Introduce Walmart Health

One Year In, Walmart Health is Delivering Affordable Healthcare and Expanding

Walmart Health Opens Two More Locations in Chicago

Walmart to Expand Health Centers to Florida Next Year

Walmart to Launch Healthcare Supercenters in Lucrative Florida Market

Walmart Health Expands to Florida Bringing Affordable and Accessible Care to Local Communities

Walgreens Boots Alliance Accelerates VillageMD Investment and Large-scale Rollout of Primary Care Clinics

CVS HealthHUB Openings on Track Despite Pandemic

CVS Health Debuts HealthHUB Locations to Serve Greater Houston Community

Walmart Opens Second Health Center Offering Clinical Laboratory Tests and Primary Care Services

Walgreens, CVS Add New Healthcare Services and Technology to Their Retail Locations; Is Medical Laboratory Testing Soon to Be Included?