Primary Care Doctors Shutting Offices, Moving To Walmart

Mike Mozart, CC BY 2.0

Retail Dive – Walmart has long been a healthcare provider beyond its pharmacy operations, running healthcare clinics in several stores.

Services (which range in price from $59 to $99 per visit without insurance and also accept a number of insurance plans) include primary care, treatment of illnesses and injuries, management of ongoing conditions, physicals and wellness checks, and lab tests and immunizations, according to Walmart’s website.

The retail giant now appears to be expanding that, positioning itself against CVS Health, which recently announced plans to expand its “Health Hub” pilot to 1,500 locations by the end of 2021 (and has acquired health insurer Aetna).

American consumers are increasingly faced with difficult insurance and care options, making the market poised for possible disruption.

Walmart is positioned to take advantage of that by offering more integrated healthcare.

“It’s evident to both inside- and outside-sector players that traditional healthcare delivery organizations are missing the mark,” Michael Abrams, Managing Partner of global healthcare consulting firm Numerof & Associates, told Retail Dive … Read more. 

5 reasons so many primary-care doctors are closing their doors forever

May 18, 2019

Health-care advocates say a good health-care system requires a solid foundation of primary care, so why is it on the decline?

MarketWatch – Has your primary-care physician closed up shop? It’s happening all over the country.

Walgreens announced last month that it will start operating primary-care physician services at some of its stores.

They will operate differently from traditional walk-in care facilities at pharmacies where people typically go when they have an immediate health problem.

The offices will be 2,500 square feet, and have a separate entrance, plus connecting doors to Walgreens. Patients (and Walgreens customers) can go there for their annual check-up and get referrals for specialists, just like they would do at the family doctor …

Here are some reasons primary-care physicians are shutting up shop:

  1. An increasing number of employer-sponsored health insurance enable people to go directly to a specialist and avoid paying extra for a primary-care physician. But the dramatic increase in visits to nurse practitioners and physician assistants did not result in cost savings, the institute said.
  2. There’s also more financial incentive to avoid the traditional vocation as a family doctor. Orthopedic surgeons make between $374,550 and $616,360 a year, according to, while primary-care physicians make between $177,370 and $231,107.
  3. Primary-care physicians face additional time and expense managing their practice, and often have a fluctuating income. Doctors who leave medical school with a large amount of student debt may also prefer the stable income of a job in a hospital, with the prospect of advancement.
  4. More doctors with financially successful practices in areas with more high-income patients are transitioning to a concierge service to help cover their rent and other costs. Those who can’t afford that may end up going to urgent care facilities or traveling farther to a new primary-care doctor.
  5. The average student-loan debt for four years of medical school, undergraduate studies and higher education was $196,520 last year, up from $190,694 in 2017, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. (It was even higher for dental school: $287,331.) Read more. 


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