Walgreens Expands Focus on Medical Care

Walgreens expands focus on medical care, soon adding doctor’s offices to hundreds of their United States drugstores. The chain recently announced it had made a deal with VillageMD, which will run primary-care clinics attached to the drugstores. The announcement revealed that the company intends to open 700 clinics in 30+ U.S. markets in the next five years. The company’s stock has dropped nearly 28% since January, so the doctor’s offices are a sure way to increase business and increase investment. Walgreens has agreed to invest $1 billion over the next three years, with a $250 million equity investment completed just 24 hours after the announcement was made. Following the collaboration, VillageMD will be tasked with recruiting and paying employees’ salaries, as well as other company expenses. Further, Walgreens will own an estimated 30% of VillageMD following the investment. Walgreens is hopeful that as it expands its focus on medical care, they can turn their “drugstores into health and wellness destinations where people spend more time and money.” Walgreens already claims 14 primary-care centers in its stores and is hoping to further their success with their new partnership.

Walgreens Expands Focus on Medical Care

The new “Village Medical at Walgreens” will offer various medical services from regular check-ups to walk-in appointments when you are feeling sick. Nine exam rooms, a spacious waiting area, and a four-physician staff will make up the new medical center. Home visits and telemedicine appointments will be offered, the same way stand-alone clinics function. The office space itself will not be a new addition, rather it will be a section of the existing store with a separate entrance. The clinics will accept various kinds of health insurance, with regular co-pays maxing out at $10. For anyone without insurance, Village Medical will provide a more affordable experience.

Stiff Competition

Walmart, Amazon, and CVS are competitors for Walgreens in the pharmacy game. However, these three pharmaceutical powerhouses have already beat Walgreens to the punch when it comes to incorporating an actual clinic in their facilities. Walgreens’ co-COO Alex Gourlay insists there is nothing to worry about, as “there’s still plenty of demand to go around.” With 6 in 10 Americans living with “at least one chronic condition that requires multiple daily medications,” the company believes they can be just as successful as their competition. Five trial stores were opened in Houston since November and have had great success, prompting Walgreens to announce the expansion of this project. Walgreens looks forward to better serving their loyal customers and be considered more of a health-care company.

Medical Care for Those in Need

VillageMD believes they can lower costs and improve health outcomes with their new concept. The company points out that Walgreens locations are typically closer to people’s homes than standard clinics tend to be. By being more accessible, patients are more likely to come to Village Medical at Walgreens as soon as they realize something may be wrong, lowering potential medical costs, which will keep patients very happy. Further, with such a close pharmacist/doctor relationship, patients are more likely to get their prescriptions faster and at a lower rate. Over half of the new facilities will open in underserved communities that do not have rapid access to medical professionals. Both companies aim to help “older, sicker and poorer populations” as well as current loyal customers.

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