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Walgreens and VillageMD open full-service primary care in Chicago

Hospitals and physician practices are increasingly competing against retail pharmacies in the primary care market.

Susan Morse, Executive Editor

Photo: Courtesy of Walgreens

Walgreens Boots Alliance and VillageMD are opening the first Village Medical at Walgreens' primary care practice in the Chicago area, in Elk Grove Village, Illinois.

The practice's physicians, advanced practice providers and pharmacists are supported through electronic medical records and technology that reduces administrative tasks, Walgreens said.

Village Medical at Walgreens is a primary care practice located alongside a Walgreens pharmacy location. Walgreens is promoting the move as coordinated primary care and pharmacy services. Walgreens pharmacists can fill prescriptions immediately following medical visits.

The new Village Medical includes eight exam rooms and on-site labs to offer full-service primary care, Walgreens said. This includes the management of chronic conditions.

The number of people in Illinois with three or more chronic diseases is growing and is expected to reach 3 million in 2030. More than 45,000 lives in Illinois could be saved annually through better prevention and treatment of chronic disease, Walgreens said.

WHY THIS MATTERS

Hospitals and physician practices are increasingly competing against retail pharmacies in the primary care market.

VillageMD and Walgreens have Village Medical at Walgreens locations in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Texas, Kentucky, Indiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, Georgia and Rhode Island.

They accept a wide range of health insurance, including Medicaid and Medicare in participating markets. In addition, they offer at-home and telehealth visits.

THE LARGER TREND

The retailization of healthcare through local pharmacies has been called a fast-food model, offering convenience and accessibility.

Walgreens operates nearly 9,000 retail locations across America, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In 2022, VillageMD acquired Summit Health-CityMD through an investment from Walgreens Boots Alliance and Evernorth, the health services subsidiary of Cigna. VillageMD currently operates Village Medical, Village Medical at Home, Summit Health and CityMD from 700 practice locations in 26 markets.

The big players have invested in primary care and have vied to get into the home care space, as shown earlier this year by CVS'$8 billion purchase of Signify and its at-home platform.

There have also been bumps in the road in the operation of primary care. In 2019, Walgreens Boots Alliance scaled back its walk-in clinic business to cut costs and said it would close roughly 160 in-store health clinics.

CVS Health in 2021 announced plans to close 900 stores nationwide over three years to restructure itself to offer more health services in the remaining locations.

ON THE RECORD

"From keeping up with appointments to managing chronic conditions, new and current prescriptions and more, managing their healthcare can be overwhelming for patients," said John Driscoll, executive vice president and president, U.S. Healthcare, Walgreens Boots Alliance. "With Walgreens and VillageMD's combined expertise in pharmacy and primary care, patients have a convenient location in their community to get the right care, at the right time for positive, long-term health outcomes."

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Email the writer: SMorse@himss.org