Walgreen to open in-store clinics this summer
Chain to follow rivals with 20 clinics in St. Louis and Kansas City
(Crain's) Starting this summer, shoppers seeking soda pop or drugs at selected Walgreens stores will be able to get something more: diagnoses, treatments and vaccinations from a nurse.
Taking a cue from rivals, Deerfield-based Walgreen Co. said it will be opening more than 20 in-store health clinics in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas this summer. More are to come elsewhere in the country later in the year.
The nation's No. 1 drugstore chain said Pennsylvania-based Take Care Health Systems LLC will operate the St. Louis and Kansas City clinics, staffing them with nurse practitioners.
Walgreen is not the first to enter the clinic market. National retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp. plus Walgreen drugstore competitor CVS Corp. have tested clinics in selected markets.
In fact, Take Care already operates in-store clinics at seven Rite Aid drugstores in Oregon and nine Osco stores in Kansas City. Take Care expects to close its Osco locations this summer and move its personnel to the Kansas City Walgreens locations, said Take Care spokeswoman Lauren Tierney. (Osco parent Albertson's Inc. is being sold, though Ms. Tierney would not say whether that was a factor in the move.)
Take Care rents space at market rates from Walgreen and receives no compensation from its host for writing prescriptions, Ms. Tierney said. Its revenue comes from insurance reimbursements or patient payments, which for the uninsured average $50, she said.
For Walgreen, "It's making it more convenient for patients to get treatment for common health ailments, and it also is another reason for people to come to our stores," spokeSMan Michael Polzin said.
Walgreen said the customers won't need appointments and will be able to check out "routine medical conditions" including strep throat, ear and sinus infections, seasonal allergies and skin problems. The nurses will also screen for diabetes, high blood pressure and provide vaccinations, the company said.
"The services offered by our in-store clinics will complement care provided by the patient's primary care physician. Our goal is to work with the physician so that they are aware of all of the patient's treatment and can properly coordinate care," said Don Huonker, Walgreen vice-president of pharmacy services, in a statement.
The clinics will cooperate with health insurers to offer services for insured patients at the same price as office visit.
for Take Care Health SystemsSM