Walgreens announces large-scale rollout of physician-led primary care clinics

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. and VillageMD announced this summer that Walgreens 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.

The clinics will integrate the pharmacist as a critical member of VillageMD’s multi-disciplinary team, and will be staffed by more than 3,600 primary care providers, who will be recruited by VillageMD, according to a release.

The clinics will accept a wide range of health insurance options, and offer comprehensive primary care across a broad range of physician services. Additionally, 24/7 care will be available via telehealth and at-home visits. More than 50% 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.

This rollout follows a trial with five in-store clinics in the Houston, Texas area, which produced very strong results after opening last November including high patient satisfaction, with Net Promoter Scores over 90, the release said.

Data from current Village Medical clinics shows that an integrated pharmacy and primary care approach increases medication adherence and contributes to improved patient outcomes.

“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.”

“In the U.S., we spend $4 trillion per year on healthcare, over 85% of that is tied to patients with chronic diseases. To improve our healthcare system and reverse the trajectory of health spending, we must meet the needs of all patients. This partnership allows us to unleash the power of primary care doctors and pharmacists, enabling them to work in a coordinated way to enhance the patient experience,” said Tim Barry, chairman and CEO, VillageMD. “The results of our initial pilot clinics highlight that these outcomes are infinitely achievable.”

Most of the clinics will be approximately 3,300 square feet each, with some as large as 9,000 square feet. They will optimize existing space in the store, which will also still provide a vast range of retail products to customers.