Walmart Health - A Growth Strategy
Episode 14526th July 2021 • This Week Health: News • This Week Health
00:00:00 00:08:01


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  Today in Health it, the story is Walmart Medical Group has filed to operate in 37 states as it gears up to deliver online care across the country. My name is Bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system and creator of this week in Health IT a channel dedicated to keeping health IT staff current.

And engaged. Today's sponsor is Sirius Healthcare. Sears Healthcare has been a partner with this week in Health IT for the better part of two years, and they have partnered with us because they believe in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders. If you believe in our mission and want to join us on this, shoot me a note at Partner at this week in health

Here's today's story. This comes from Business Insider. It's interesting, it comes from Business Insider. The last time they wrote about Walmart, they were talking about how their clinic plans were falling apart. And I really skewered that article because of how silly the concept was that they were gonna walk away from a $4 trillion market and serving the needs of the communities that they're very committed to.

And sure enough, Walmart came back with a vengeance and is really displaying their . Healthcare desires and goals. So this article, lemme give you a couple excerpts real quick. Walmart is gearing up to provide healthcare online to people across the country. The medical group for Walmart's Health Centers has quietly filed paperwork to do business in a total of 37 states.

A review of filings by insider reveals insider first reported in June that Walmart Health was laying the groundwork to operate in a number of states. Where it doesn't have physical health clinics in April and May, Walmart filed to do business in 16 states in June and July. An additional 17 states, a Walmart spokesperson, told Insider in June that the filings are related to the retail giant's interest in providing telehealth through the company's pending acquisition of Virtual Care Provider ME, md, which we've reported on at the time.

She said the filings were not . Four physical Walmart health clinics. We're excited to enter our fourth state and open our first Walmart Health Florida location later this year. The spokesperson said in an email, we've expressed our interest in offering telehealth via an acquisition that is pending regulatory clearance, and these filings are related to that effort, not physical Walmart health locations.

All right, so they are on a roll. They are growing out their. Brick and mortar clinics as well in Arkansas, Georgia, and Illinois. And now they're entering Florida. Article goes on to talk about how they are filing in additional states to support me, md and they obviously talk about competition with Amazon and Cigna and ever North acquired Telehealth giant, MD live.

tudy. It's Trit Health, their:

I would still do about 20 shows on it. So you're gonna hear it interspersed with the various stories that we cover. There's a great slide in here, and it says, Walmart applies, save money, live better to healthcare. And the answer is absolutely yes. And they have a cost comparison for key services across CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, and urgent care clinics that are being offered in the markets and they compare.

Office visit, flu test, strep test, lipid panel. And just to give you an idea, office visit CVS Health, $99 to $139. Walgreens, $89 Urgent Care, $137. Walmart $40. All right, so that's greater than half. And if not in third, in some cases, flu tests, 70 to a hundred dollars at CVS. $66 at Walgreen, $20 at Walmart Health.

$102 at Urchin Care. Think about that. That is significant savings. Strep test, 35 to $45 at CVS. $25 at Walgreens, $20 at Walmart Health. $102 at an urgent care clinic, lipid panel, $37 at CVS Health, 35 at Walgreens, $10 at Walmart Health, $102 at an urgent care facility. So that's just interesting stuff to consider.

They are also launching into the loyalty program as well. The largest retail providers have established loyalty with healthcare consumers. CVS Health has 74 million Americans in their loyalty program. Walgreens has a hundred million. You have a new entrance into that. Amazon Prime, obviously is one of those with annual fees of $119 per year, and Walmart is launching into that as well with

$98 per year, and that will get you, uh, discounts across the board. This goes into a lot of the new entrance into the market and what they're doing and where they're expanding. We, we talked about Walmart and where they're going, but the interesting thing about it is they're going into states that are growing Texas, Florida, North Carolina.

Those are three states that are growing now, California is actually shrinking from a congressional delegation standpoint, but Texas, Florida, North Carolina. Our, uh, growing states and more population is moving into those, and that is smack dab in the middle of where Walmart is going. My so what on this is do not turn a blind eye to these retailers.

These retailers are serious. They're at scale, they're well funded. I. They're smart. They understand loyalty programs. They're already connected to the same customers and patients that you're working with. They have very sophisticated digital programs, very sophisticated marketing and outreach programs, and their costs are potentially undercutting you by an order of magnitude in some cases.

So that's, that's what's going on in the Walmart world. Something to keep an eye on. The telehealth, they're gonna go for that first dollar, but once they're in there, they're gonna start directing care. And this is the mantra I keep coming back to. You do not want someone to get in between you and your patient.

The rule of thumb in retail is whoever directs the . Spend of the consumer determine the winners and losers in the market. We'll see how healthcare responds. This is a serious threat, and not to the entire business model clearly, but to that first dollar and the first digital dollar that gets spent on healthcare.

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