Kaiser Health News reported on two actions by Walmart in October: one to eliminate health benefits for part-time employees, and the second to issue a “request for information seeking partners to help it ‘dramatically…lower the cost of healthcare…by becoming the largest provider of primary healthcare services in the nation.’” Ironic, yes?
Walmart and others have not found an easy answer in retail clinic territory but they’re still at it, presumably in the name of boosting store traffic and earning more revenue per square foot. The RFI seems to indicate that Walmart plans on going a little deeper than the typical minute clinic this time, with specific questions on the oversight of visitors with complex chronic conditions.
Folks are wary, but what might Dr. Walmart bring to the table this time around, given what’s already been learned? The Center for Health System Change commented that “health care is not a widget” of the type Walmart is accustomed to typically mastering. On the other hand convenience, access and customer service are not strengths for health care providers. It may take partners as atypical as Walmart to get us to a place of improved outcomes and value. We’ve seen crazier things happen.