COPPERAS COVE — Wal-Mart opened its first health clinic Friday as corporate executives, employees, customers and community leaders watched a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“This is something Wal-Mart wanted to do for a long time,” said Jennifer LaPerre, a Wal-Mart senior director. “We are so proud to have affordable and quality health care for this community.”
The clinic will allow associates and their families on Wal-Mart’s health plan to pay $4 for primary care visits. Customers and associates not on the company’s health plan can receive the same care for $40.
The clinic doesn’t accept outside third-party commercial insurance plans.
At 1,000 square feet, the facility features three exam rooms and a lab service room.
It is staffed by two licensed nurse practitioners and several nursing assistants through a partnership with QuadMed, a national company that offers on-site primary care clinics and health care management solutions.
Wal-Mart is one of the largest employers in the area, with more than 3,000 employees at stores from Temple to Lampasas.
“This is a great advantage to me and my family,” said Danae Paholek, a Wal-Mart Vision Center manager in Harker Heights. “It is even cheaper than the regular copay.” Paholek said she will travel from Harker Heights to use the clinic.
The new clinic supports employees and customers, said Eddie Scholl, Cove Wal-Mart general manager.
“The most important part at the end of the day is to take care of the person who pays the bills; that is the customer,” Scholl said.
Robert Grimm, a Copperas Cove resident, thought the clinic was a good addition to Wal-Mart, he said.
“It is a great idea as long as it doesn’t get abused,” Grimm said. “(Wal-Mart) is becoming the one-stop shop for everything. Now you can go get diagnosed along with your medicine and get your hair cut.”
Clinic services include wellness and preventive care, basic acute care, management of certain chronic conditions and referrals to specialists. It is open seven days a week.
The Copperas Cove store was the first to open, but a dozen more locations are planned to open later this year.
“We have set the paved stones to lead the way,” Scholl said. “We are going to be the ones to do this.”