Walmart has been successful because it is a pioneer. It pioneered the inexpensive big-box retail model. It added food to its stores and may be the biggest seller of groceries in the country. Walmart has turned itself into an almost $600 billion company, making it the largest in the US. Management claims 90% of Americans are within 10 miles of one of its stores.
In the last few years, Walmart has entered the urgent healthcare business, one of the fastest-growing parts of the healthcare industry. It will launch 24 new locations in 2024, giving it 75. That number will almost certainly grow. Walmart is never half-hearted.
According to the company, “Our healthcare providers don’t just care for patients – they build relationships within their communities.” No matter how commercial that seems, it is a standard part of Walmart’s MO.
Walmart says that healthcare “cost and convenience” are the reasons for these centers. While that may be true, it is only partially so. Walmart has been among the most commercially voracious companies in American history. What it does, it almost always does for money. (But here are 29 things you should never buy at Walmart.)
Will the new centers be a service to the community? Yes, they will. However, what will only be clear over time is what Walmart will charge and its profits. To start, the initiative will be expensive. The locations will be 5,750 square feet and inside supercenters. They will provide at least primary care, dental care, behavioral health, labs and X-ray, and audiology. From a staffing standpoint, that will be extensive.
Walmart may grow this part of its enterprise. It is a segment of the health industry with tens of thousands of locations and billions of dollars in sales. (Click here for the largest employer in every state.)
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