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Why Walmart, Walgreens, CVS retail health clinic experiment is struggling

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image of shopper outside A Walmart Health center in Pinellas Park, Florida, US, on Tuesday, April 30, 2024.

CNBC, May 2024

Bobbi Radford showed up at the CVS MinuteClinic in Batavia, Ohio, last Thanksgiving because she had pain in her arm. “I waited an hour and then was told to go to the [emergency room].,” Radford said. Filling the staffer in on her history of congestive heart failure, she was directed to go to the ER. But Radford says after she did that, it was determined at the ER that she had a case of tennis elbow.

“It was a waste of my time, and I still had to go to my family doctor,” Radford said. Despite their early promise of convenience and accessibility, in-store clinics haven’t been the golden egg-laying goose many retailers originally envisioned. That’s why Walmart recently announced it would shutter its 51 in-store full-service healthcare centers. Another symptom of the ailing market is Walgreens, which announced the closing of 160 VillageMD locations (Walgreens owns a 63% stake in VillageMD, which also operates free-standing clinics). CVS’s MinuteClinic, the largest in-store clinic with over 1,100 locations, has announced dozens of clinic closings this year in Southern California and New England.

Not all patient experiences are negative. Karla Lemon of Conway, South Carolina, says she uses CVS’s MinuteClinic for vaccines or sinus infections. “I’ve had a pretty good experience with them,” said Lemon.

Read more at CNBC.

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