Walmart to close 51 health clinics, stop telehealth service

Walmart will shut down scores of health centers as well as its telehealth business due to the exorbitant operating and reimbursement costs, the big-box retailer said on Tuesday.

Since 2019, the company opened 51 one-stop health centers — each located next to Walmart Supercenter locations scattered across five states.

Walmart initially stated its goal was to build more than 75 clinics — where patients could obtain dental, medical and behavior health services such as X-rays and deep teeth cleanings — across the country by the end of this year.

Walmart said on Tuesday it would shutter 51 health clinics in several “Supercenter” locations scattered across five states. REUTERS

“This is a difficult decision, and like others, the challenging reimbursement environment and escalating operating costs create a lack of profitability that make the care business unsustainable for us at this time,” the company said in a blog post on Tuesday.

The company declined to reveal how much money it invested in building out the clinics.

Walmart has also not stated how much revenue these clinics generated.

The retailer has also not said how many jobs it would eliminate as a result of the move, though it did add that associates affected by closures would be permitted to transfer to any other Walmart or Sam’s Club location.

Walmart said it would continue to operate its thousands of pharmacies and vision centers throughout the country.

The retailer’s foray into primary care was triggered by intense competition in the booming, multi-trillion dollar health industry where chains such as CVS and Walgreens have also expanded their footprint.

Walmart said that it wasn’t able to turn a profit with its health care clinics. Bob Self/Florida Times-Union/ USA TODAY NETWORK / USA TODAY NETWORK

Last year, Walmart reportedly considered acquiring a stake in ChenMed as part of a strategy to lure customers who are enrolled in private Medicare.

Walmart isn’t the only company that has struggled to gain a bigger piece of the pie due to rising insurance premiums.

Walgreens, which paid $5.2 billion to acquire primary caregiver VillageMD, said it would shuttered 160 of the VillageMD clinics that it opened in its retail locations.

Last quarter, Walgreens announced a $5.8 billion writedown linked to VillageMD.

The clinics offered one-stop-shop primary care services such as dental cleanings.

Walmart also announced it was shuttering its telehealth service, MeMD, which it acquired at the height of the pandemic in 2021.

Demand for telehealth services tanked after the end of COVID-related mitigation measures that allowed people to see their doctor in person.

The Post has sought comment from Walmart.

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