Walgreens debuts clinics, readies Medicare centers

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DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens continues to broaden its health care offerings, opening physician-staffed clinics and announcing the debut of in-store Medicare services centers.

In Houston, the retailer unveiled the first of five “Village Medical at Walgreens” clinics. In partnership with Chicago-based VillageMD, Walgreens will premiere the other four clinics over the next two months. The 2,500-square-foot clinics will offer comprehensive primary care services — with social workers at certain locations — with their own entrances and waiting rooms.

“Primary care, much like other health services, is an area where we believe there is opportunity for greater care coordination with our pharmacists, and where patients can benefit from more convenient access,” said Giovanni Monti, vice president and director of health care innovation at Walgreens. “Our core pharmacy expertise, coupled with VillageMD’s quality primary care services, will provide simpler, more accessible and affordable health care options for our customers and ­patients.”

“We’re confident that this collaboration will be a great example of the power of strategic collaboration in order to improve health outcomes in a community we both serve,” he added. “This collaboration with VillageMD demonstrates Walgreens’ ongoing commitment to developing a neighborhood health destination around a modern pharmacy that bring affordable health care services to customers and provide a differentiated patient ­experience.”

VillageMD cofounder and chief executive officer Tim Barry said, “In America today, our health care system is failing. With Village Medical at Walgreens, our goal is to provide high-quality primary care that improves patients’ health in a convenient, accessible and coordinated way. Our focus on quality outcomes and efficient care delivery within a value-based model will help pave the way to a more efficient health care system.”

The Medicare services centers will debut in 14 in stores in five metropolitan areas as part of a multiyear agreement with ­UnitedHealthcare.

“We are expanding access to UnitedHealthcare Medicare resources to better serve our members, providing them with all the valuable benefits they have come to expect from their UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans plus delivering the customer service and information they desire locally within Walgreens,” said Mike Anderson, CEO of the Medicare Part D business at ­UnitedHealthcare.

The first centers will be rolled out in January at stores in the Las Vegas, Phoenix, Cleveland, Denver and Memphis markets. Through these centers, Walgreens customers can learn more about Medicare, meet with service advocates to discuss their UnitedHealthcare plan benefits and even enroll in plans. UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage members can also make an appointment for an in-store annual wellness visit through UnitedHealthcare’s HouseCalls program, helping make it easier to get needed care, tests and treatment.

“Walgreens’ collaboration with UnitedHealthcare helps people navigate their health care options and provides convenient access to affordable care,” said Rick Gates, senior vice president of pharmacy and health care at Walgreens. “Through strategic partnerships like this, Walgreens store locations can offer comprehensive services tailored to the specific needs of the communities we serve that are conveniently accessible alongside our pharmacy services.”

The two companies are also collaborating on the new AARP Medicare Advantage Walgreens plans from UnitedHealthcare to deliver lower prescription drug costs and convenient access to medications. The new plans expand on UnitedHealthcare’s 2020 Medicare Advantage offerings. With Walgreens as the preferred retail pharmacy, many of the plans will feature no premiums and zero co-pays on primary care visits, preventive care and many common generic drugs, offering another way for plan members to save.

The plans will feature benefits available through most UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans, including a broad health care network; dental and vision coverage; and access to Renew Active, UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare fitness program for mind and body.

AARP Medicare Advantage Walgreens plan members are not limited to using Walgreens and may continue to fill prescriptions at most retail pharmacies or via mail order from OptumRx. At Walgreens, plan members will enjoy lower co-pays for drugs, access to additional in-store value, enhanced discounts through the Walgreens Balance Rewards program and simple-to-use digital tools through Walgreens. The 46 plans will be available across 24 states where 16.2 million people eligible for Medicare reside.


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