On Friday, the Nashville Health Care Council hosted Senator Bill Frist, M.D., and Marcus Osborne, vice president, health and wellness payer relations at Walmart, for a discussion on retail medicine and the consumerization of health care.
Central to the conversation was Walmart’s plans to enhance health care offerings through a network of primary care centers that will offer a wide range of medical services, including prevention and treatment for chronic conditions like diabetes. The company’s primary care clinics have rolled out in select markets in Texas, South Carolina and Georgia. Just as it does for other products, Walmart offers competitive prices that some experts say could affect pricing standards throughout the health care industry.
Currently, Walmart’s primary care clinics charge $40 per visit. They accept Medicare and Medicaid, but do not accept third-party insurance for now. Walmart employees pay $4 a visit if they are covered under the company’s plan.
“The implementation of health care reform and the mounting issues of access have presented a unique opportunity for Walmart to serve people living in places where there may not be many options to receive care, such as in rural communities,” said Osborne.
“Walmart’s goal is to be an integrated health care provider and a one-stop shop for our customers. We have a broad assortment of offerings, from pharmaceuticals to over-the-counter products, ancillary services and now primary care in select markets.”
Frist pointed out that health care is increasingly consumer-driven, leading to the development of new models and technologies.
“People are more involved in decisions around their care and their coverage,” said Frist. “The emergence of additional points of access and competitive pricing will be disruptive to the industry. High-deductible health plans and rising prices have created a need for nontraditional avenues of receiving care, whether that is in retail locations such as Walmart or through telemedicine.”
“The Council strives to provide our members with timely access to the nation’s top health care leaders,” said Caroline Young, president, Council. “Marcus offers a valuable first-hand perspective from the center of this trend as part of the world’s largest retailer. We are pleased to bring him to Nashville for this conversation.”
The presenting sponsor for today’s program was BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. Supporting sponsors were Bass, Berry & Sims, Cressey & Company, LifePoint Hospitals and SpecialtyCare. Stage furnishings were provided by Interior Design Services.
About the Nashville Health Care Council
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the Nashville Health Care Council is a premier association of health care industry leaders working together to further establish Nashville’s position as the nation’s health care industry capital. Supported by nearly 300 corporate members, the Council serves as a trusted source for information on trends that influence the health care industry. The organization provides members with one-of-a-kind networking opportunities and access to Nashville’s elite health care business community.
Worldwide, Nashville’s health care industry generates more than 400,000 jobs and $70 billion in annual revenue. The industry is Nashville’s largest and fastest growing employer. For more information on the Council, please visit www.healthcarecouncil.com.