• Wednesday, November 09, 2011RSS Feed

    Walmart Sets Sights on Dominating Primary Care, Says Kaiser

    In the same week that Walmart announced it would stop offering health insurance benefits to new part-time employees, the retailer sent out a request for information seeking partners to help it "dramatically ... lower the cost of health care ... by becoming the largest provider of primary health care services in the nation," says a Kaiser Health News article. The request asks firms to spell out their expertise in a wide variety of areas, including managing and monitoring patients with chronic, costly health conditions such as asthma, HIV, arthritis, depression, and sleep apnea.

    In addition to positioning itself to boost store traffic by expanding the number and types of services offered in its in-store medical clinics, analysts say, the move also would capitalize on growing demand for primary care in 2014, when the federal health law fully kicks in and millions more Americans are expected to have government or private health insurance.

    In-store medical clinics "could also be players in another effort in the health law" that encourages collaborations between providers who want to "win financial rewards for streamlining care and lowering costs." Paul Howard, a senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, told Kaiser that Accountable Care Organizations might contract with in-store medical clinics. 

    While Walmart's efforts to partner with others on health care could help lower costs for some patients and increase access to primary care services, health policy experts also say it raises questions about the possibility of further fragmenting care in the US.  They also question whether patients seen by nurses or physician assistants at in-store clinics will have outcomes equal to those seen by physicians in more traditional practices.

    Partners are to be selected in January, the article says.


    Comments

    Fascinating! One can go pick up ice cream and a prescription for diabetes medication all in the same trip - that's what I call efficiency!
    Posted by Christine on 11/9/2011 9:36 PM
    Christine, that is among the funniest comments I have read in a long time. Thank you.
    Posted by Charles on 11/11/2011 10:01 AM
    And don't forget, Christine, you can walk that Rx right on over the.... you guessed it...WalMart in-store pharmacy! I ask, where is Costco in all of this? Aren't these two retailers archrivals? Heck, I think we (PT/PTAs) should open our private practice clinics there, too. How about this: you can get a work-place injury AND be treated, all under one roof! Talk about job security....
    Posted by Danielle on 11/13/2011 4:22 PM
    why r u eating ice cream if you have diabetes?
    Posted by ck on 3/1/2012 2:51 PM
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