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How may I heal you today?

Rachel Dornhelm Feb 8, 2008


Scott Jagow: Somewhere in the Wal-Mart marketing manual, there must be a line that says: Make the news every day. Lord knows, Wal-Mart sends out a press release about something at least once a day.

And sometimes, we bite. Wal-Mart is doing a lot of new things. It just announced its getting into health clinics in a big way. We decided to check that one out. Here’s Rachel Dornhelm.

Rachel Dornhelm: The retail giant plans to open 400 health care clinics in its stores within the next two years. They’ll carry the brand “Clinic at Wal-Mart.”

But Wal-Mart executive John Agwunobi says they’ll also carry the name of a local partner, like an established hospital.

John Agwunobi: We believe strongly that these clinics should be a part of the local health care infrastructure that people have come to rely upon.

Analysts says these clinics can take a few years to recover start up costs. But Wal-Mart is just leasing the clinic space out.

And industry researcher Bruce Carlson says they have a lot to gain:

Bruce Carlson: The retail clinic, being in that store, contributes revenues to the Wal-Mart.

Lots of revenue. Carlson says retail clinics will bring their host stores over $100 million dollars in additional sales this year.

And he says the local health partners also win — they get free advertising. At a time when hospitals are scrambling to keep in the black, this could be a gateway for patients to enter their system.

I’m Rachel Dornhelm for Marketplace.

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