Walmart looks to virtual care with acquisition of telemedicine company MeMD

With this acquisition, Walmart Health will add nationwide virtual care options across primary care, urgent care and behavioral health to its clinics’ service portfolio.
By Mallory Hackett
02:14 pm
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Image: Courtesy of Walmart

Walmart this week strengthened its foothold as a healthcare provider with the announcement of its plans to acquire telehealth company MeMD.

The retail giant’s healthcare arm, Walmart Health, will bring MeMD’s multi-specialty virtual care options into its fold later this year.

The deal is expected to close in the coming months, following regulatory approvals, according to the announcement. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

WHAT'S THE IMPACT?

With this acquisition, Walmart Health will add nationwide virtual care options across primary care, urgent care and behavioral health to its clinics’ service portfolio.

“Telehealth offers a great opportunity to expand access and reach consumers where they are and complements our brick-and-mortar Walmart Health locations,” Dr. Cheryl Pegus, the executive vice president of Health & Wellness at Walmart, said in a statement.

“Today people expect omnichannel access to care and adding telehealth to our Walmart Health care strategies allows us to provide in-person and digital care across our multiple assets and solutions. Our Health & Wellness mission is to focus on the consumer’s seamless experience and improved health. We are excited to welcome MeMD employees to the Walmart family, and we are looking forward to together, accelerating health care access across the country.”

Founded in 2010 by Dr. John Shufeldt, MeMD has grown to now support more than 5 million members nationwide, according to the company’s website. It offers telehealth visits for urgent care, men’s and women’s health needs, talk therapy, teen therapy, psychiatry and COVID-19.

"We’ve achieved incredible strides in making healthcare available to individuals and businesses around the country through our easy, affordable and intuitive online platform,” Bill Goodwin, the CEO of MeMD, said in a statement.

“We can’t imagine a better partner than Walmart as we are both committed to innovative healthcare delivery and bringing affordable, high-quality care to as many people as possible. MeMD’s mission fits perfectly with Walmart’s dedicated focus to help people save money and live better, and now we can impact millions more by being part of Walmart.”

THE LARGER TREND

Walmart has waded further and further into healthcare over the past several years. The company opened its first Walmart Health clinic in Georgia in 2019 and has since announced plans to expand into new markets this year.

It has dipped into health insurance through its deal with Clover Health and by launching Walmart Insurance Services, a licensed insurance brokerage for Medicare plans.

Walmart has also had its eye on digital health as it acquired digital medication management company CareZone’s tech platform, patents and “key intellectual property.”

The retailer has even lent its pharmacy to the COVID-19 vaccine effort by participating in the Federal Pharmacy Retail Program.

Walmart isn't alone in transforming from a retailer to a fully operating healthcare clinic. CVS' HealthHub announced plans to open another 1,500 locations by the end of 2021. Walgreens, in collaboration with VillageMD, announced its plan to open 500 to 700 full-service doctors' offices within its stores over the next five years.

 

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