Since opening its first Walmart Health center in 2019, Walmart says the goal has been simple: Serve communities by providing accessible, convenient, and affordable healthcare.
"Our healthcare providers don't just care for patients – they build relationships within their communities," Walmart states in a press release.
In 2024, Walmart plans to open 28 new health centers. This will expand Walmart Health's footprint into two new states and deepen its presence in Texas. Ten locations in the Dallas metro area, eight locations in the Houston metro area, six locations in the Phoenix metro area, and four locations in Kansas City, Missouri metro area are specifically included.
The first of the new Walmart Health centers will open in the first quarter of 2024.
"By the end of 2024, we'll have more than 75 Walmart Health centers across the United States," the retailer announced last week.
Twila Brase, RN and president/co-founder of Citizens' Council for Health Freedom, admits that the idea of getting a checkup and then shopping for groceries all in one stop sounds like a great idea, but she has concerns.
For one thing, healthcare practitioners in general are no longer independent and are all becoming part of corporations.
"My concern with Walmart Health is that same corporate influence in the exam room is going to happen at Walmart Health, where Walmart decides to save money," Brase poses.
She expects there will be protocols at Walmart Health that limit what the practitioner can do because the practitioner is an employee of the corporation.
"Across America, we just see the end of independent practice – the end of the doctor who works for the patient, the end of the doctor who spends time getting to know the patient," Brase observes. "Instead, we are moving to corporatize the entire healthcare field."
She says many corporations see that as a "real benefit, because, of course, everybody needs healthcare."