Physicians to offer care at Walmart in-store clinics

The retail chain partners with a large medical group to deliver primary care at four Texas stores.

By — Posted June 2, 2011

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The latest in-store clinics at Walmart will feature something fairly rare: physicians.

WellMed Medical Management, which has more than 35 clinics in Florida and Texas that primarily serve Medicare-eligible seniors, announced May 19 that it will form a partnership with NextDoor Health to open four primary care clinics at Walmarts in Round Rock, San Marcos, Seguin and Kerrville, Texas. The clinics will be run by NextDoor Health but staffed by WellMed Medical Group physicians as well as other clinicians. The Round Rock clinic opened May 25. The others are scheduled to open in the summer. The clinics will serve all comers, not just those with Medicare.

In most cases, retail clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants, with a physician serving as an off-site supervisor. San Antonio-based WellMed said its goal is to have physicians working in its Walmart clinics about 80% of the time. The company said it wanted its retail clinic presence to match what patients would see if they went to a WellMed office.

"Sometimes [retail clinics] are not as successful as they should be, but these will be in markets where we have clinics with little or no urgent care availability," said Carlos O. Hernandez, MD, president of WellMed Medical Group. "They will be able to do just about anything a regular clinic does.

"We're trying to make access to care a little bit more convenient," he said.

NextDoor Health, based in Minneapolis, runs full-service medical clinics in Walmarts across the country that will be operated by local networks of physicians and hospitals. Most forms of insurance will be accepted.

Before WellMed's announcement, Walmart hosted 126 clinics in 28 states. They are branded as The Clinic at Walmart, but the chain does not own or control them.

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