Wal-Mart Health Clinics: 'Trial and Failure'

Bloomberg today takes a look at Wal-Mart Store Inc.'s progress growing its portfolio of in-store health clinics, such as the ones it's put in its central Arkansas stores with the help of St. Vincent.

Despite what's expected to be growing demand for health services with the onset of the Affordable Care Act, Wal-Mart's health clinic strategy has lost steam, especially compared to rivals like CVS Caremark Corp., which is moving full-steam ahead.

Today Wal-Mart has fewer than 130 clinics and is closing locations faster than it’s opening them. Meanwhile, CVS Caremark Corp., which already has about 630 MinuteClinics, is opening about three a week, and aims to have 1,500 within four years. It’s promoting the clinics heavily on TV and the Web. While industry figures are hard to come by, CVS says its clinic business has grown at a compound annual rate of 39 percent in the last six years.

Wal-Mart's clinics, meanwhile, are described as "trial and failure" by observers in the health care industry. The results of Bloomberg's Wal-Mart check-up, right here.