Walmart shutters 51 doctor clinics after just a few years amid struggle to make healthcare profitable

April 30, 2024

Walmart shutters 51 doctor clinics after just a few years amid struggle to make healthcare profitable

The decision to close the health centers, which were primarily located in smaller towns where customers might lack access to quality care, represents an abrupt reversal for the supermarket chain.

BY Emily Price

Walmart announced plans Tuesday to close all of its doctor-staffed clinics around the country as it shuts down its entire Walmart Health division after determining that the centers weren’t a profitable business model. Along with the closing of the clinics, the retailer is also beginning the process of shutting down its Walmart Health Virtual Care program.

Walmart is closing a total of 51 staffed health clinics located in Florida, Arkansas, Georgia, Texas, and Illinois, with more than half of the clinics located in Florida. The clinics have all only been open for just a few years.

Walmart opened its first health clinic in Dallas, Georgia, in 2019. The centers, which were primarily located in smaller towns where customers might lack access to quality care, offered primary care services as well as labs, X-rays, dental and optical services, and electrocardiograms. The company’s virtual program began in 2021 when the company acquired MeMD.

Anyone who already has an appointment scheduled at one of the clinics will continue to be seen, and the company plans to make an effort to direct patients to other providers in their area that work with their current insurance. While the company plans to shutter all of the Walmart Health locations, it currently does not have a specific date for when each clinic will close.

In March of last year, Walmart indicated it planned to expand the number of clinics it operated by 70 before the end of the year, so the decision to instead close the existing clinics represents a fairly abrupt change.

In its announcement on Walmart Health’s closing, the company said that “escalating operating costs create a lack of profitability that makes the care business unsustainable for us at this time.”

Walmart isn’t the only company that has attempted to offer healthcare services over the past five years. Both Walgreens and CVS now offer healthcare options in some of their locations, and Amazon recently completed its $3.9 billion acquisition of healthcare provider One Medical. Walgreens has closed or sold 160 of its VillageMD primary care locations in recent months after also struggling with profitability.

The decision to close Walmart Health and Walmart Health Virtual Care will not impact the company’s 4,600 pharmacies or 3,000 vision centers.

Walmart shutters 51 doctor clinics after just a few years amid struggle to make healthcare profitable

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Emily is a journalist based in San Francisco. 

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