Walmart and UnitedHealth partner to promote value-based care

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The two companies plan to open 15 Walmart Health locations in Florida and Georgia next year

The shift to value-based care, in which doctors are compensated based on patient outcomes, rather than for providing a service, is here to stay; the proof is that two of the biggest retailers have now made inroads into the space in just the last few days.

On the same week that CVS announced it was buying Signify Health, a company that uses analytics to promote a value-based care model, Walmart and UnitedHealth Group also announced that they are entering a 10-year long relationship to promote preventative care for seniors through value-based care arrangements. 

The partnership will kick off next year, with 15 Walmart Health locations in Florida and Georgia, serving seniors and Medicare beneficiaries in value-based arrangements through multiple Medicare Advantage plans; these locations are expected to open in 2023, with promises of expansion into new geographies over time, with the goal of eventually reaching hundreds of thousands of MA members.

As per the arrangement, Optum will assist Walmart Health clinicians serving these populations by providing them with analytics and decision support tools.

“We’re on a journey to transform health care, connecting more people to the right care at the right time — at a cost that makes sense,” Doug McMillon, CEO at Walmart, said in statement. “This collaboration puts the patient at the center of health care by leveraging the strength and complementary skill sets of our two companies to accelerate access to quality care.”

The collaboration will also include a co-branded Medicare Advantage plan in Georgia, called UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage Walmart Flex, which will be available starting in January 2023; at the same time, those enrolls in UnitedHealthcare’s Choice Plus PPO plan will have access to Walmart Health Virtual Care, a rebranding of telehealth solution MeMD, which Walmart acquired in 2021.

The two companies said that they eventually have their sights set on providing access to fresh food, while also enhancing current initiatives to address social determinants of health, over-the-counter and prescription medications, and dental and vision services.

“UnitedHealth Group and Walmart share a deep commitment to high-quality and affordable primary care led services that address all of a patient’s health needs in ways that are convenient for them and improve health outcomes,” Andrew Witty, CEO at UnitedHealth Group, said in a statement.

This is far from Walmart’s first foray into the healthcare space: in 2019, Walmart opened its first “Walmart Health” center in Dallas, Georgia; Walmart Health now has 24 locations across four states: Georgia, Arkansas, Florida, and Illinois and, according to Forbes, it could become the largest primary care provider in the country, on top of running one of the largest pharmacy chains in the US.

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