Walmart to Buy Telehealth Company MeMD

Walmart to Buy Telehealth Company MeMD
(Walmart Inc.)

Walmart Inc. of Bentonville said Thursday that its primary care clinic Walmart Health has reached a deal to buy telehealth provider MeMD of Phoenix.

Financial terms of the deal, which require regulatory approval, were not disclosed. Walmart expects the purchase to close "in the coming months."

"Telehealth offers a great opportunity to expand access and reach consumers where they are and complements our brick-and-mortar Walmart Health locations," Dr. Cheryl Pegus, Walmart's executive vice president of health and wellness, said in a news release.

"Today people expect omnichannel access to care and adding telehealth to our Walmart Health care strategies allows us to provide in-person and digital care across our multiple assets and solutions."

MeMD was founded in 2010 by Dr. John Shufeldt to offer virtual health care online nationwide. Walmart said MeMD "delivers medical and mental health visits to millions of members nationwide."

Walmart said MeMD will complement its in-person Walmart Health centers, which provide primary, hearing, eye and dental care, lab and X-ray and counseling services. It said the deal reinforces its commitment "to integrated, omnichannel health delivery that leverages data and technology to improve engagement, health equity and outcomes."

"We've achieved incredible strides in making health care available to individuals and businesses around the country through our easy, affordable and intuitive online platform," MeMD CEO Bill Goodwin said. "We can't imagine a better partner than Walmart as we are both committed to innovative health care delivery and bringing affordable, high-quality care to as many people as possible."

The deal comes as the retailer expands its health care offerings. It launched its health insurance brokerage company in October and in December hired Pegus, most recently Cambia Health Solutions' president of consumer health solutions and chief medical officer, to lead its health and wellness division. 

Walmart began a pilot program for its Walmart Health centers last year. Its fourth clinic was a 5,800-SF center in Springdale on Elm Springs Road, which it opened in June. Clinics are staffed by Walmart employees in partnership with local physicians.

The draw for doctors and dentists is the upfront pricing for health services. The clinics have been geared for patients with no or poor health insurance, and cash payment for services means less paperwork for physicians. (Walmart eventually plans for its clinics to accept major health care plans.)

The clinics are in addition to Walmart's more than 4,700 pharmacies and more than 3,400 Vision Centers. Walmart has offered a $4 generic prescription drug program for years.

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