Walgreens Boots Alliance is teaming up with Chicago-based VillageMD to make Walgreens “the first national pharmacy chain to offer full-service doctor offices co-located at its stores at a large scale,” according to a Wednesday (July 8) press release.
The move comes against the backdrop of an U.S. healthcare system in upheaval from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Walgreens Boots Alliance is the holding company for the pharmacy chain. Walgreens said the move follows “a highly successful trial begun last year” with five in-store clinics in the Houston, Texas, area.
The release said the partnership will open 500 to 700 “Village Medical at Walgreens” physician-led primary care clinics in more than 30 U.S. markets in the next five years, with the intent to build hundreds more thereafter.
“This rollout is a major advancement of one of Walgreens Boots Alliance’s four key strategic priorities, Creating Neighborhood Health Destinations,” said Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and CEO, Walgreens Boots Alliance. “These clinics at our conveniently located stores are a significant step forward in creating the pharmacy of the future, meeting many essential health needs all under one roof as well as through other channels.”
VillageMD will be responsible for recruiting doctors. The in-store clinics will accept a “wide range of health insurance plans,” according to the release. In addition, “More than 50 percent will be located in Health Professional Shortage Areas and Medically Underserved Areas/Populations, as designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.”
Walgreens said an “integrated model has never been more important — six in 10 Americans today live with at least one chronic condition requiring multiple daily medications.”
“In the U.S., we spend $4 trillion per year on healthcare, over 85 percent of that is tied to patients with chronic diseases,” said Tim Barry, chairman and CEO, VillageMD. “To improve our healthcare system and reverse the trajectory of health spending, we must meet the needs of all patients.”
In other news, with the demand for home delivery growing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Walgreens and Postmates have partnered on a new delivery venture. People nationwide can get home delivery of necessities and health-related products — including some over-the-counter medications — from over 7,000 Walgreens stores.