• December 20, 2014

Wal-Mart opening clinic in Cove

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Posted: Friday, April 18, 2014 12:00 am

Wal-Mart will open a medical clinic inside its Copperas Cove superstore April 25.

It’s the first location for Walmart Care Clinic Pilot Program, which plans to offer a variety of primary health care services to its associates and customers for a low cost.

“As the largest private employer in the U.S., we are committed to finding ways to drive down health care costs for our 1.3 million U.S. associates and the 140 million customers who shop our stores each week,” said Labeed Diab, president of Health and Wellness for Wal-Mart, in an email. “Our Walmart Care Clinic pilot is creating a new price position for retail health services that aims to give our associates and customers greater access to quality, affordable health care that will improve their lives.”

According to a Wal-Mart memo to be distributed today, most of the company’s associates and their families on a Wal-Mart health plan will pay $4 to use the clinic. Customers and associates not on the company’s health plan can visit the clinic for $40.

The clinic will be staffed by two licensed nurse practitioners through a partnership with QuadMed, which is recognized for offering on-site primary care clinics and health care management solutions, the memo stated.

Services outlined

Clinic services will include wellness and preventive care, basic acute care, management of certain chronic conditions and referrals to specialists.

What is “exciting” about the Wal-Mart pilot is that it takes retail clinics beyond acute care and is offering primary care, said Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health.

The national nonprofit organization, of which Wal-Mart is a member, represents large employers’ perspectives on national health policy issues.

“Primary care is essential to everyone, and we don’t have enough access to primary care,” Darling said.

The clinic offers an opportunity for affordable, convenient and quality health care, said Mary Kate Scott, a health care consultant and author who acted as an adviser for the pilot program.

“What is pretty exciting that this is a $4 price point, which is a really aggressive price point,” Scott said.

Cove’s selection

The Copperas Cove store was selected to lead the pilot program with the opening of a 1,000-square-foot facility because of its proximity to other Wal-Mart locations, said Danit Marquardt, a Wal-Mart spokesperson.

With two Sam’s Clubs, a Wal-Mart in Lampasas, a distribution center in Temple, and several superstores in between Temple and Copperas Cove, there will be 3,000 associates who will have access to the program, Marquardt said.

Wal-Mart has more than 155,000 associates in Texas.

The national retailer plans to open a dozen or more Wal-Mart owned-and-operated clinics across the nation this year as it reviews the program’s implementation in Copperas Cove.

“All parts of the health care system play an important role, and our goal is to join the continuum of medical care in the communities we serve,” Diab said.

Wal-Mart has leased space to health care providers that offer basic acute care in its stores since 2005 and it will continue do so after the clinic program launches.

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