Walmart and UnitedHealth Group announced a 10-year collaboration Wednesday that will help several Walmart Health facilities transition into value-based care.
The retail company has been working to expand its presence in healthcare, launching Walmart Health in 2019, which offers primary and urgent care, labs, X-ray and diagnostics, behavioral health, dental, optometry and hearing services. Walmart Health currently has 27 locations in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia and Illinois.
The news comes as other big retail companies have made major moves in healthcare, such as CVS Health acquiring home healthcare company Signify Health and Amazon acquiring primary care company One Medical.
Walmart’s partnership with UnitedHealth Group (UHG) will help in its plan to expand healthcare services in an affordable way, said Dr. Soujanya (Chinni) Pulluru, vice president of clinical operations at Walmart Health Omnichannel Care.
“As part of this collaboration, Walmart Health will gain access to UnitedHealthcare and Optum’s clinical experience and risk-based resources in Medicare Advantage, leading to better health outcomes and helping people live better and healthier lives,” Pulluru said.
The collaboration will start in 2023 at 15 Walmart Health locations in Florida and Georgia, Pulluru said. Optum, a UnitedHealth Group business, will leverage its analytics and support tools to help Walmart Health clinicians deliver more value-based care to Medicare Advantage beneficiaries. Value-based care pays providers based on the quality of care, compared to a fee-for-service model that pays on the quantity of services provided.
“UnitedHealth Group and Walmart share a deep commitment to high-quality and affordable primary care,” UHG said in a statement. “Working together, we will bring Optum’s distinctive high-quality care model to more Medicare Advantage members in communities across the country … Optum Health, a UnitedHealth Group business, will provide Walmart Health clinicians with a suite of analytic and decision support tools to help develop their capability to deliver effective, value-based care.”
Additionally, the partnership will bring in a co-branded Medicare Advantage plan in Georgia called UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage Walmart Flex, which will begin in January 2023. Walmart Health Virtual Care will also be in-network starting January 2023 for commercial members in UnitedHealthcare’s Choice Plus PPO plan.
The retailer is capable of reaching quite a few people across the U.S., the company touted. About 90% of the population lives within 10 miles of a Walmart, Pulluru said.
While the partnership is starting at 15 locations in Florida and Georgia, the goal is to grow its presence into new markets and different health plans.
“Eventually, the collaboration aims to serve even more people, including those across commercial and Medicaid plans, by providing access to fresh food and enhancing current initiatives to address social determinants of health, over-the-counter and prescription medications, and dental and vision services,” Pulluru said.
Photo credit: Walmart