Image courtesy of Walmart
Walmart Health to close

Walmart Health to close in abrupt retreat from retail health care

May 1, 2024
Walmart Health's clinics, which included dental services, will be closed within the next three months. Read more here.
Amelia Williamson DeStefano, Group Editorial Director

On April 30, Walmart announced that it would be closing all 51 of its Walmart Health Centers and virtual health services.

“Through our experience managing Walmart Health centers and Walmart Health Virtual Care, we determined there is not a sustainable business model for us to continue,” the company said in a press release. “This is a difficult decision, and like others, the challenging reimbursement environment and escalating operating costs create a lack of profitability that make the care business unsustainable for us at this time.”

When Walmart Health first opened in September 2019, it was envisioned as a place where patients could seek low-cost care, regardless of insurance status, and where many health services would be located under a single roof.

“Walmart Health is the first to put primary and urgent care, labs, x-ray and diagnostics, counseling, dental, optical and hearing services all in one facility, partnering with expert providers to deliver these quality services,” it wrote in a press release at the time. In 2019, a teeth cleaning for adults at one of its first clinics cost $25, even without insurance.

Even as recently as March, Walmart had announced plans to expand its clinics. Walmart isn’t the only major corporation struggling to make retail health care profitable, as Walgreens recently took a $6 billion loss on its VillageMD investment.

In a LinkedIn post, Alen Voskanian, MD, chief operating officer at Cedars-Sinai, commented that major corporations, drawn to health care with plans for big profits, are “comfortably oblivious to the pitfalls that have been the bane of hospital systems and private practices for years: rapidly plummeting reimbursements, critical clinician shortages, and skyrocketing labor costs.”

Walmart has not announced when each specific center will close. Its press release advised that providers would continue to serve existing patients while clinics were open.