Possible opportunity for additional business for local hospitals...BD
Wal-Mart Stores will open health clinics at as many as 400 of its U.S. stores in the next three years, and as many as 2,000 in the next five to seven years, the company announced on Tuesday, Bloomberg/Boston Globe reports (Bloomberg/Boston Globe, 4/25). The health clinics will be managed independently by local or regional hospitals, CEO H. Lee Scott told the World Health Care Congress, a national meeting for CEOs, senior executives and government officials (CQ HealthBeat, 4/24). The clinics will be staffed by nurse practitioners or physicians and will offer preventive and routine care. Companies that operate the clinics will decide whether to accept health insurance for visits, which typically cost $40 to $65, according to Wal-Mart spokesperson Kevin Gardner (Bloomberg/Boston Globe, 4/25). Wal-Mart currently has 76 clinics operating in 12 states (Wall Street Journal, 4/25). Many of the clinics offer walk-in appointments and are open seven days a week. More than half of the people visiting those clinics lack health insurance, and 15% said they would have gone to an emergency department if the clinics were unavailable (Bloomberg/Boston Globe, 4/25). Scott said, "We think the clinics will be a great opportunity for our business. But most importantly, they are going to provide something our customers and communities desperately need -- affordable access at the local level to quality health care" (AP/Indianapolis Star, 4/25).