Walgreens said Monday that 27 Healthcare Clinics in Walgreens stores across the St. Louis region, including four clinics in Illinois, will transition to SSM Health this fall and become an extension of the SSM Health Medical Group.
The clinics will be renamed SSM Health Express Clinic at Walgreens. SSM Health will own and operate the clinical practice and management of operations of those locations. Plans call for Walgreens to continue to manage the Healthcare Clinics until the transition is completed.
“Today’s announcement is another example of how providers can work together to help improve population health while helping to ensure a continuum of care for patients in the community,” Pat Carroll, chief medical officer for Walgreens Healthcare Clinics, said in a statement. “This also demonstrates the value of deeper health system collaborations, which can facilitate the transition of retail health clinics from urgent, episodic care to more coordinated care.”
As part of the agreement, Walgreens and SSM Health will form a joint council to share best practices and experiences to improve patient care, quality and satisfaction and help reduce health care costs.
The agreement expands Walgreens’ current relationship with SSM Health. The drug chain provides pharmacy services to SSM Health patients and employees, and Walgreens said the two organizations plan to explore opportunities to integrate other Walgreens services.
“This collaboration is an important step in SSM Health’s commitment to improving the health of our community,” stated James Bleicher, regional president of the SSM Health Medical Group and ambulatory services in St. Louis. “By combining the convenience of Walgreens locations with the personalized care and expertise of the SSM Health Medical Group, we will provide a seamless health care experience for our patients. This means care that is truly integrated whether you visit an SSM Health physician, hospital, urgent care or Express Clinic at Walgreens.”
A Catholic, nonprofit health system, SSM Health-St. Louis operates eight hospitals, 12 urgent care locations and more than 40 medical offices in the area.
Recently, Walgreens has announced similar agreements with other health care systems to run its retail health clinics.
In January, Walgreens said it was turning over the operation of 56 Healthcare Clinics at stores in the greater Chicagoland area to Advocate Health Care. And last August, the drug chain said it would add up to 25 in-store clinics in Oregon and Washington under a clinical collaboration with regional health system Providence Health & Services, which would own and operate the clinics.