Walgreens Plans to Open Clinics in Hundreds of Stores

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US pharmacy chain Walgreens has announced its intent to open doctor offices in hundreds of its stores in the United States. The company partnered with primary care provider VillageMD to add clinics to its drugstores. VillageMD has agreed to staff and operate 500 to 700 clinics in the next five years. The healthcare provider is aiming to hire over 3,500 medical personnel to fulfill its deal with Walgreens. The clinics will offer numerous health services ranging from regular checkups to the management of chronic diseases. Walgreens will allot $1 billion to fund the partnership. The money will mostly be utilized by VillageMD to start operating the clinics and integrate its existing medical technology, such as its patient monitoring system, with Walgreens'. According to Walgreens, offering medical care in its drugstores will be more convenient for customers and will result in better health services. The company believes it will help treat patients with chronic illnesses better, especially those requiring a lot of medications. Walgreens is also confident in its partnership with VillageMD, especially after a successful trial run conducted in some Houston stores several months prior to the announcement. VillageMD will build the clinics by converting existing space in Walgreens drugstores. The clinics will be about 3,300 square feet, occupying approximately a quarter of the usual Walgreens store space. Each clinic will have a designated waiting area and examination rooms. They will also have medical staff led by a physician, who will coordinate closely with store pharmacists. Although the exact locations of the facilities were not revealed, Walgreens said most of them will be in underserved areas that lack health facilities.

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