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.
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.
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