Wesley Chapel Walmart had its first health clinic in Tampa Bay

WESLEY CHAPEL – Walmart may not be the first name that comes to mind when it comes to healthcare, but it has established vaccines, vision centers and pharmacies as part of its shopping experience.

Now the retail giant will take a bolder step in the Florida health market by opening five health centers in stores across the state, including the one at 54 State Road in Wesley Chapel. There are plans to open another Brandon.

Branded as Walmart Health, the centers offer primary care, laboratories, X-rays and EKG services. Behavioral health and counseling are also available, as well as dental, optics, and hearing specialists. Clinics, typically about 6,500 square feet, have separate entrances in addition to the store entrance.

Walmart has already tested the concept with 24 centers operating in Arkansas, Illinois and Georgia. The first centers in Florida opened in Jacksonville and Orlando in April.

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Although some retailers like CVS and Walgreens have expanded their health care in stores, as a way to increase pedestrian traffic, Walmart characterizes market entry as a way to improve the lives of its customers, especially in rural communities with limited access. , said David Carmouch, vice president of Walmart’s Omnichannel Care Offings. In many of these communities, the local supercenter is the focus of the community.

“When we talk to our client about the pain points in their life, it’s a health care,” he said. “Walmart doesn’t have to do health care to get people to its stores. This is really a service offering.”

An X-ray machine at the new Walmart Health Center, the Wesley Chapel Walmart Supercenter. [ Walmart ]

Walmart sees Florida as an ideal market for the company.

The state’s population is projected to grow by 7 million between 2020 and 2040, according to a study by the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. This will make it harder to provide health care across the state, especially in sparsely populated areas, Carmouche said. Walmart has about 380 stores across the state.

Nationwide, 90% of the population is within 10 miles of Walmart, with 4,000 stores in the areas designated by the Department of Health and Human Services as part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

“In Florida and much of the country, Walmart Supercenters are at the crossroads of where people live, but health services are not necessarily available.” said Carmuch. “We think we have a role to play.”

But the move could also make business sense as a result of a pandemic. AlixPartners 2021 A health and wellness survey of six major markets in the world, including the United States, found that half of consumers believe that a healthy lifestyle has become more important in the last year.

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To compete with traditional clinics, Walmart emphasizes affordability and convenience. The centers are open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. There is a teleos service on Sundays.

The centers will be “online” for most major health insurance plans and are Medicare and Medicaid approved. There is also an effort to help those with no insurance at lower prices, Carmouche said.

Prices appear on the lobby wall of the clinic. A visit or annual examination for patients or injuries costs $ 90. The eye exam is $ 85 and the new patient’s dental exam is $ 40.

The clinics will be staffed by board-certified medical professionals, including doctors, nurses and dentists who work with Walmart’s healthcare companies. Walmart also hires community health workers to provide advice on services and other support available to customers at the centers.

Carmouche said centers that are already open in Florida have become popular even without significant marketing. Centers already operating in other states are seeing a high rate of return, he said.

“We weren’t sure if people wanted to have health care at a Walmart clinic and they did,” he said. “We feel like we’re putting in a good product.”

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