health care


Paging Dr. Retail: Walmart, CVS Expand Healthcare Reach

Retail’s hunger for healthcare isn’t slowing down: Walmart is teaming up with UnitedHealth Group in a 10-year deal aimed at seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries. The news comes hours after CVS announced an $8 billion acquisition of Signify Health, a home-health giant. And it’s about a month after Amazon’s $4 billion purchase of OneMedical.

Walmart says the collaboration kicks off next year with 15 Walmart Health locations in Florida and Georgia and will expand to include “hundreds of thousands of seniors” through multiple Medicare Advantage plans.

The Bentonville-based retailer says it will use Optum, a UnitedHealth Group business, to help Walmart Health clinicians with analytics and decision support, improving the care already provided at Walmart Health centers.

“We’re on a journey to transform health care, connecting more people to the right care at the right time -- at a cost that makes sense,” says Doug McMillon, Walmart’s CEO, in its announcement. “This collaboration puts the patient at the center of health care by leveraging the strength and complementary skill sets of our two companies.”



Like rivals Walgreens and CVS, Walmart has long been trying to expand into healthcare. In 2019, it launched Walmart Health, care centers that offer primary and urgent care, labs, diagnostics, behavioral health, dental and optometry.

These compete with incumbent healthcare organizations, and it’s launching them in rural areas with fewer doctors.

So far, it has opened 27 locations in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, and Illinois.

CVS, headquartered in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, says the $8 billion acquisition of Signify Health will “play a critical role in advancing our health care services strategy and gives us a platform to accelerate our growth in value-based care,” says CVS Health President and CEO, Karen S. Lynch, in its announcement. “This acquisition will enhance our connection to consumers in the home and enables providers to better address patient needs as we execute our vision to redefine the health care experience.”

Both UnitedHealth and Amazon had been rumored to be in the bidding for Signify, which has some 10,000 clinicians in 50 states in its network. In 2022, it expects to connect with 2.5 million unique members in the home, either in-person or virtually.

CVS currently has about 1,100 Minute Clinics in 33 states, many operating inside Target stores.

Last fall, Walgreens invested $5.2 billion in Village MD and has been rapidly opening co-located primary care locations.

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