Piedmont Healthcare, a seven-hospital system in Atlanta, has agreed to take over and operate 27 Walgreens in-store retail clinics in the metropolitan area, the two companies announced Wednesday.
Piedmont joins other hospital systems such as Advocate Health Care in Chicago and Providence Health in Renton, Wash., that have bought or leased retail clinics that Walgreens and other chains have opened inside their stores to provide convenience for patients with minor ailments.
Piedmont is rebranding the clinics as Piedmont QuickCare at Walgreens. Piedmont expects to fully take over the clinics on Aug. 1. It is leasing the space and will operate the clinics with its own clinicians and electronic medical records system, said Matt Gove, Piedmont Chief Consumer Officer.
“Our goal is simple. To provide same-day access to high quality care close to home,” said Piedmont CEO Kevin Brown.
Gove said the clinics will offer easy access for patients and walk-ins with minor infirmities, complementing Piedmont's more than 40 primary-care clinics and 19 urgent care centers.
Clinicians typically are nurse practitioners supervised remotely by physicians, he said. The clinics, at least initially, will operate for up to 12 hours, he said.
Piedmont is one of four large systems in a fast-growing Atlanta market that has seen rapid consolidation among hospitals.
The other major players are WellStar Health System of Marietta, Ga., Emory Healthcare and Northside Hospital. Piedmont expects to post revenue of more than $2 billion in 2016.
Gove said Piedmont contracted to lease all-but a handful of the Walgreens clinics that the national drug-store chain has around Atlanta. The others were deemed too far from Piedmont's primary-care clinics to offer patients needing additional care, he said.
Piedmont and Walgreens also are creating a collaboration council to talk about best practices of operating such retail clinics, Gove said.
Walgreens has a track record of running the stores efficiently and Piedmont “would be crazy” not to tap that expertise, he said.