This week's opening of Walmart's second comprehensive primary care center in Georgia may signal a looming competitive threat to health systems and primary care providers, potentially creating new pressure to reduce prices.
The giant retailer launched its latest Walmart Health center in Calhoun, a western suburb of Atlanta, offering primary and urgent care, labs, x-ray and diagnostics, mental health counseling, dental, optical and hearing services under one roof.
Walmart says it will offer prices that are 30% to 50% lower than what people currently are paying at doctors' and dentists' offices. Walmart's price list says a primary care physician office visit costs $40, with annual checkups costing $30 for adults and $20 for children. Mental health counseling sessions cost $45, dental exams including X-rays start at $25, and routine vision exams cost $45.
These clinics are the opening shots in what Walmart executives say may be a larger leap into the healthcare delivery business, with a focus on low, transparent pricing for key healthcare services. The freestanding centers, sized at about 1,500 square feet and located adjacent to Walmart stories, go well beyond the in-store clinics previously offered by Walmart, Walgreens, and CVS.
"We think we can make an impactful difference in affordability, convenience, and, most importantly, accessibility for the Calhoun community," said Sean Slovenski, president of Walmart U.S. Health and Wellness, in a news release. "Now we're focused on a solution to provide affordable, integrated care that our customers want and deserve.