Primary Care

Walgreens Doubles Down on Primary Care

Walgreens and VillageMD
Image Credit: Walgreens

In a move to accelerate its value-based primary care strategy, Walgreens announced that it plans to take an ownership stake in VillageMD with a $5.2b investment.

The investment gives Walgreens a 63% stake in the primary care company, making it “the first national pharmacy chain to offer full-service primary care practices with primary care physicians and pharmacists co-located at its stores all under one roof at a large scale.”

  • The partnership originated with a 2019 pilot program of five co-located primary care practices designed to more closely coordinate care between patients’ physicians and pharmacists. It has since expanded to 52 co-located primary care practices, with plans to have at least 1k “Village Medical at Walgreens” locations by 2027.
  • VillageMD offers same-day appointments with its physician-led teams that include nurses, lab techs, and behavioral health specialists. It also helps physicians transition to risk-based care models, an approach that appears to be working: full-year expected revenue is $1.3b, a sharp increase from $217m in 2017.
  • Walgreens announced a new division called Walgreens Health to house VillageMD and its other clinical services, which includes the recent purchase of a 55% stake in care-at-home company CareCentrix. Walgreens Health’s goal is to provide whole-person healthcare to the 75% of Americans who live within five miles of a Walgreens.

Industry Impact

Retail clinics are quickly becoming a popular pursuit as companies like Walgreens, Walmart, and CVS Health rush to expand their clinical footprints to cater to the growing number of consumers seeking convenient care close to home.

Walgreens stated that it plans to make consumer health a key “growth engine” through partnerships in primary care (VillageMD) and post-acute services (CareCentrix), driving more volume of in-store health products while expanding healthcare access.

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-- The Digital Health Wire team