A convenient-care facility known as "The Clinic at Wal-Mart, owned and operated by St. Vincent Health System" is expected to open in Little Rock, Ark., by the end of April and will be the first of some 400 co-branded retail clinics that Wal-Mart expects to open by 2010.
A letter of intent has also been signed between Wal-Mart and the Houston-based retail clinic operator, RediClinic, to open in-store clinics at 200 Wal-Mart Supercenters. Wal-Mart signed another letter of intent to operate four of these facilities in Little Rock with the two-hospital Catholic Health Initiatives-affiliated St. Vincent. It was also announced that, by the end of April, a facility branded "The Clinic at Wal-Mart owned and operated by RediClinic" will open in association with a local Atlanta hospital system, andby this summerWal-Mart expects to open co-branded clinics with RediClinic and a local hospital system in Dallas, according to a news release.
Tine Hansen-Turton, executive director of the Convenient Care Association trade group, said that there are currently about 920 retail clinics in operation now, and that number is expected to increase to between 1,500 and 1,600 by year-end as partnerships with community hospitals and health systems continue to be developed. More providers are beginning to realize what these clinics are and what they arent, she said. Theyre not there to take patients away from their primary-care home; theyre there to add to the network. -- by Andis Robeznieks