Walmart Health To Acquire Telehealth Provider MeMD -- Update
By Sarah Nassauer and Rolfe Winkler
Walmart Inc. said Thursday it purchased telehealth provider
MeMD, another sign that the retail behemoth aims to expand its
Walmart has worked to build a larger healthcare business in
recent years, as part of a wider effort to find new sources of
profitable revenue beyond supercenters.
The strategy comes in response to Amazon's business model,
according to people familiar with the situation. Amazon relies on
profits from its cloud computing and advertising businesses to fend
off competitors online with fast, but often less-profitable, home
delivery of millions of products.
The MeMD deal opens another front in which Walmart and Amazon
will compete, as Amazon recently announced plans to provide its
telehealth service, Amazon Care, to its nearly 1 million U.S.
employees by summer. Amazon Care, which now serves company workers
in Washington state, will also be offered to other employers.
Two years ago, Walmart started opening a handful of clinics in
stores, with doctors and dentists offering flat-fee primary care,
such as $25 dental X-rays and $40 office visits.
Executives believe that Walmart can build its healthcare
businesses by catering to consumers who crave lower prices and more
transparency in healthcare costs, according to some of the people
familiar with the situation, using its around 4,700 stores as a
Walmart already partners with telehealth companies such as
Doctor on Demand Inc. to offer services to its 1.3 million U.S.
workers. During the pandemic, Walmart made virtual visits free for
employees covered by the company's healthcare insurance.
The retail giant didn't disclose financial details of the
"This acquisition will, over the coming months, allow Walmart
Health to provide access to virtual care across the nation,"
Walmart said. It will also complement its in-person service at
Walmart Health Centers, the company said.
Founded in 2012, MeMD provides virtual healthcare across the
U.S. and runs 24/7 throughout the year. Walmart expects the deal to
close "in the coming months," the company said.
Kimberly Chin contributed to this article.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 06, 2021 18:47 ET (22:47 GMT)
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