Village MD and Walgreens announced on Wednesday that they will jointly offer primary care doctors’ services at some of their Houston stores. The former will work with Walgreens’ pharmacists, nurses and social workers to operate clinics offering primary care in 5 Walgreens stores. The offices, with areas as big as 2500-square-feet, will be located inside Walgreens stores and will have separate storefronts and doors connecting both spaces. Walgreens’ existing walk-in clinics are different as they provide treatment for acute conditions, such as flu and cough. People go there to seek medical advice for an ailment or for a normal annual physical check-up. Chief medical officer of Walgreens Dr. Patrick Carroll stressed on the necessity of such clinics.
Retail space of stores will be reduced to include the offices. Nothing has been announced as to which items will be removed. The offices will consist of waiting areas and6-8 exam rooms, Carroll said. The offices will provide high-end primary medical treatment that will lower costs and improve quality at convenient locations. The first office, titled ‘Village Medical at Walgreens’ will likely be opened by 2019-end. Other medical services provided by Walgreens include diagnostic testing (partnership with LabCorp), dental clinics (with Aspen Dental), urgent healthcare centers (with UnitedHealth Group) and senior health centers (with Humana).
Offering doctors, nutritionists and teeth straighteners are being experimented with as both CVS and Walgreens are trying to figure out the best use of store locations that are struggling with conventional drugstore products, such as greeting cards and candy. CVS had last year bought health insurer Aetna and its pitch was focused on how the combined company would be able to make people happier by providing better healthcare facilities. Health-focused concept stores called Health HUBs were opened in early-2019 in Houston to help patients tackle chronic disorders like asthma, hypertension and diabetes.
Carroll said that Walgreens might enter new markets and not just stick to expansion of Village MD test.