Walgreens’ new partnership with primary care provider VillageMD is the drug store chain’s latest foray into offering a myriad of health services for its customers and it heightens the chain’s competition with CVS Healthcare.
VillageMD, a national primary care provider, will operate 2,500-square-foot primary care clinics next to five Walgreens stores in the Houston, TX, area. The new Village Medical at Walgreens clinics will provide comprehensive primary care services, integrated tightly with pharmacists, nurses, and social workers to meet the full needs of patients, according to a statement from Walgreens and VillageMD.
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CVS Health is also testing its HealthHub concept stores in the Houston area, which are designed to “provide healthcare services in a more convenient, accessible, and customer-focused manner,” CVS Health says on its web site. “HealthHub helps customers get well — and stay well — by offering a broader range of health care services, wellness products, trusted advice, and personalized care,” the retailer said.
The first Village Medical at Walgreens location is scheduled to open by the end of 2019. “We’ll continue to explore expansion of ‘Village Medical at Walgreens’ primary care clinics in Houston and other markets,” Pat Carroll, MD, chief medical officer and group vice president for healthcare services and clinical programs for Walgreens, tells Drug Topics.
“This collaboration with VillageMD demonstrates our ongoing commitment to create neighborhood health destinations that bring affordable health care services to customers and provide a differentiated patient experience to the communities we serve,” Carroll says in the statement.
Already, 400 of Walgreens’ 9,560 stores offer retail clinic services, which includes Walgreens Healthcare Clinics as well as clinics run by its health system partners, Carroll tells Drug Topics. Plus, the retailer has an ongoing pilot with MedExpress to provide urgent care in several of its stores.
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Last year, Walgreens launched a primary care collaboration with Humana and its Partners in Primary Care subsidiary to operate senior-focused primary care clinics inside two Walgreens stores in the Kansas City, MO, area.
The company also recently announced a collaboration with McLaren in which they “plan to bring a combination of several different types of health service offerings in Walgreens retail locations throughout Michigan, including retail health care clinics, urgent care centers and primary care sites,” Carroll says.
“Primary care, much like urgent care and retail clinics, is an area where we believe there is opportunity for greater care coordination with our pharmacists, and where patients can benefit from more convenient access,” he adds.