August 13, 2014


Health care for $4: Walmart launches primary-care clinics in South Carolina (Dan Diamond, 9/04/14, Advisory Board)

It's no surprise to see a large retailer push into health care, given the potential market opportunity. (Our experts have closely tracked the growth in the retail sector, and how hospitals can strike deals with these retailers.)

Walmart's specific approach is driven by several factors: 

Long-germinating plans: Whether hosting retail clinics or potentially launching a insurance exchange, company officials have spent years eying the health care market. 

Existing expertise: Walmart's already acted as a disruptive innovator within the industry: its discount drug program helped drive big changes for consumers' pharmaceutical spending a decade ago.

Internal push for cost control: The Affordable Care Act is driving up Walmart's own health spending. The company says it will spend $330 million more on health care this year as a result of expanding coverage, and officials say piloting its own clinics represents one attempt to try and rein in health costs.

Walmart's also targeting regions where patients are most in need of care innovation. The company's two South Carolina clinics are located in Sumter and Florence--where some of the state's poorest and least healthy residents live.

And local lawmakers believe the retail giant can help improve the state's health. South Carolina officials lobbied Walmart for the opportunity to launch the clinics, Sausser reports.

"We told Wal-Mart, 'We think this is perfect,'" said Tony Keck, director of South Carolina's Medicaid agency.

Posted by at August 13, 2014 6:12 PM

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