News Briefs: Walmart Cites Reimbursement Woes in Closing Clinics, Virtual Care

Walmart Inc. announced on April 30 that it is closing its 51 health centers in five states as well as its virtual care offering. The company said in a press release that it had determined “there is not a sustainable business model for us to continue” with its Walmart Health and Walmart Health Virtual Care centers and added that “the challenging reimbursement environment and escalating operating costs create a lack of profitability that makes the care business unsustainable for us at this time.” Walmart launched the clinics in 2019. The company will continue to operate its nearly 4,600 pharmacies and more than 3,000 vision centers.

UnitedHealth Group CEO Andrew Witty testified before the Senate Finance Committee and House Energy & Commerce Committe on May 1 about the cyberattack on Change Healthcare, a UnitedHealth subsidiary. Fierce Healthcare reported that Witty said much of Change’s data was stored in data centers rather than on the cloud and that hackers accessed a server that did not have two-factor authentication. Fierce also noted that several politicians criticized UnitedHealth for its massive vertical integration, noting it owns a PBM and is a major player in health care delivery. Axios reported that UnitedHealth “could face more regulation or even calls to divest some of its businesses in the fallout from the hack.” Last month, a bipartisan group of politicians wrote a letter to Witty seeking information about the cyberattack and noted that Change’s systems process about 15 billion transactions each year and are linked to about 900,000 physicians, 118,000 dentists, 33,000 pharmacies and 5,500 hospitals.

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AIS Health Staff

AIS Health Staff

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