Borrowing money

Walgreens turns to primary and virtual care

What pandemic? As COVID-19 vaccinations and urgent care visits plummet in spring as infection fears fade, Big Pharmacy seeks to get back on track with expansion plans, resumption of prescriptions and retail wellness products, and greater access to primary care via the growing networks of retail primary care clinics being pursued by large chains.

Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) will remain an alliance following news that Walgreens has dropped plans to sell the UK Boots chain of around 2,200 locations, citing market conditions and the lack of an offer “that adequately reflects the Boots’ high potential value,” the company said.

In its third quarter of 2022 earnings call with analysts Thursday (June 30), WBA CEO Rosalind Brewer commented on the decline in prescription volumes, saying, “Historically, we have seen flat storyline trends during downturns, which should be helped today by the ongoing return to lower care utilization levels normalized health. Additionally, we are seeing benefits at Walgreens as we address staffing issues at stores to enable a return to normal operating hours. »

Lower vaccination reimbursements also weighed on pharmacy figures.

Brewer noted that the My Walgreens subscription and savings plan is “nearing a major milestone of 100 million customers,” adding, “We are focusing labor investments to bring back approximately 3,000 stores during regular business hours, which I believe will accelerate the recovery of script volume as we head into fiscal 2023.”

WBA announcement the continued expansion of its Village MD partnership in late April, planning to add 10 new Village Medical primary care centers to Walgreens in Massachusetts by next year. On the earnings call, Brewer said, “Our largest partnership, Village MD, continues its rollout of co-located clinics with 120 now open, on its way to 200 by the end of 2022.”

Noting that “Village MD is now in 22 markets with more than 1.6 million patients,” she added that Shields Health Solutions, in which WBA invested $970 million last October, “continues to rapidly expand its platform, including new deals with three major systems and the launch of Boston Children’s Pharmacy.

See also: Walgreens makeover will include boots…for now

Fusion of physical and virtual

For its part, CVS Health reported in May that vaccinations and associated traffic would decrease by 70% compared to the same period in 2021, as the chain proceeded with the previously announced store closings, while talking about virtual health gains. and primary care in new store formats.

Giving an idea of ​​the changes, CNBC reported that CVS CEO Karen Lynch said that “the company supported 10,000 mental health virtual visits in 2019. That jumped to 10 million mental health virtual visits in 2021.”

Read more: CVS Health Launches Virtual Primary Care

Meanwhile, Walmart Health sees the future of healthcare as increasingly virtual, partnering with automated patient intake and mapping company Gyant to expand virtual healthcare services.

In a Tuesday (June 28) Gyant announcementthe company said its “automated patient intake and mapping tool, Intake, will launch with Walmart Health Virtual Care, formerly known as MeMD. GYANT’s online clinical assessment solution will begin to be rolling out this month and will be available to all Walmart Health Virtual Care member groups using virtual emergency care services by the end of the year.

Gyant said: “Telehealth use has stabilized at 38 times pre-pandemic rates. With more patients than ever seeking virtual care, it’s crucial to ensure services scale to meet demand,” added Stefan Behrens, co-founder and CEO of GYANT, “This is a pivotal time for the evolution of health care. Walmart Health Virtual Care is well positioned in telehealth care, and we’re excited to not only impact the care of more patients, but to ensure those patients have a great experience. transparent and intuitive.

See also: Retail healthcare gets a shot in the arm via Walmart Wellness Hub subscription options

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