Walmart will open two health clinics in Rogers and Fort Smith later this summer. The two new clinics are modeled after the Walmart Health clinic in Store No. 4108 on Elm Springs Road in Springdale that opened in July 2020.
The retailer is also opening five clinics in Florida this summer giving Walmart more than 25 clinics that offer primary care health services for a flat fee as well as dental care, labs and imaging.
In Rogers, the new clinic will be attached to Store No. 1 at 2110 W. Walnut St. A clinic in Fort Smith is located at Store No. 388 at 2100 N. 62nd St. Walmart did not return multiple requests for specific information relating to the two new clinics, but permits have been filed with the respective cities and the exterior signage at the clinics is up.
Talk Business & Politics recently toured the Walmart Health clinic in Springdale, where Dr. Rhonald Searcy, an independent contractor physician at the clinic, is joined by nine other providers including two advanced practice nurses, behavioral health providers and dental health workers.
Walmart executives have said the plan for clinics is in line with the retailer’s push to make affordable primary care services available in under-served areas. While the clinics do accept insurance, patients can pay in cash. Searcy said a patient can get a routine visit for $59 out of pocket. Labs and imaging are charged separately, but those prices are posted in the clinic lobby. He said cost is one of the primary reasons consumers do not seek medical attention.
“We had one patient who came in for the routine visit because it was affordable. We were able to refer her out to a specialist when her cancer diagnosis was found and she got the care she needed,” Searcy said.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said during a June 3 media question and answer session that health clinics are not financially sustainable in their small numbers.
“We are investing into health services because it’s the right thing to do for our customers and over time with additional clinics and service offerings it should become more sustainable,” McMillon said.
Walmart also is investing more into pay for pharmacy technicians at Walmart and Sam’s Clubs to an average of $20 per hour. Walmart said 36,000 technicians would see the pay raises this week, including 1,110 in Arkansas. Walmart also said it will offer free pharmacy tech certification training which will garner them $3 more per hour than non-certified techs.
“Our business is growing, and we’ll continue to make investments across our entire Health & Wellness team to help drive that growth. We also plan to hire approximately 5,000 additional pharmacy technicians this year to support our vision of providing best-in-class health care,” said Kevin Host, senior vice president, Walmart Health & Wellness,
Walmart said the payment schedule for pharmacy techs also allows for more frequent raises that can total $4 per hour over four years for new hires. The starting pay for Walmart pharmacy techs varies by location. Glassdoor pegs the starting wage in Arkansas at $11 per hour. Indeed.com reports the average wage for pharmacy techs in Arkansas is $15.74 as of May.