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Walmart Closes all 51 Health Centers, Calling Business Model ‘Unsustainable’

Photo courtesy Walmart Health

Walmart has ended its five-year effort to become a direct health care provider, announcing plans to close all 51 Walmart Health centers across five states and shutter its virtual care offering. It’s an abrupt reversal; just a few weeks ago, the retailer had announced plans to add 18 Walmart Health Centers in Texas this year to join the four currently operating in the state.

There’s no timetable yet for the closings, which will not affect Walmart’s nearly 4,600 pharmacies and 3,000+ vision centers. Walmart Health centers are currently located in Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Illinois and Texas.

“We understand this change affects lives — the patients who receive care, the associates and providers who deliver care and the communities who supported us along the way,” said the retailer in a statement. “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.”

Other retailers have attempted to crack the code of providing health care, notably Walmart rival Amazon, which recently offered discounts on its One Medical telehealth service to Prime members. Best Buy has collaborated with Boston’s Mass General Brigham to support expanded home-based health care and has deployed its Geek Squad to facilitate setup of home health care monitoring devices. Pharmacy chains including Walgreens and CVS, which purchased primary care provider Oak Street Health for $10.6 billion in February 2023, also have been trying to expand further into health care.

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Associates working in Walmart Health centers will be eligible for transfer to other Walmart or Sam’s Club locations and will be paid for 90 days unless they transfer or leave the company. At the end of this period eligible employees will receive severance. Health care providers will continue to serve patients while the clinics remain open.

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