With Walmart Health Shuttering Its Doors, Retail Healthcare Has to Rethink Its Role & Strategy in Primary Care

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Retail healthcare is an uncertain slice of the U.S. healthcare industry, being defined by both recent strategic retreats and bold expansions which have sparked crucial discussions about the future of primary care services within the retail sector. The most recent news that shocked the industry was the shuttering of Walmart Health, Walmart’s 51 health centers across the U.S., citing their comprehensive approach to providing primary healthcare services as unsustainable and “expensive to run” with “increased labor and operating costs.”

Alongside Walgreens’ significant financial write-downs, the retail healthcare market is going through some volatile chapters. At the same time, companies like Amazon’s One Medical and CVS’s Oak Street Health are on expansion sprees. The demand for retail-based healthcare persists, so amid these contrasting strategies, the question arises: What determines success or failure in this sector, and what role should retail healthcare play in the broader healthcare ecosystem?

On this episode of MarketScale’s premier debate and discussion roundtable, Experts Talk, host Daniel Litwin, the Voice of B2B, gets a behind the scenes breakdown of the factors that shaped Walmart Health’s shutdown and that are continuing to shape strategies in the retail healthcare sector. From leaders in retail healthcare to professionals who worked on launching Walmart Health, this episodes panel of industry leaders include Steve Welch, Shawn Nason, Matthew Herrera, and Brian Urban. They explore the dynamics of the retail healthcare industry, dissecting why some companies thrive while others falter, and discuss the long-term viability of these ventures.


Key Points

  • Strategic shifts and market responses: Walmart and Walgreens have faced significant setbacks, prompting reevaluations of their retail healthcare strategies amidst expansions by Amazon’s One Medical and CVS’s Oak Street Health.
  • Economic implications of retail healthcare models: Discussion centered on the economic challenges and strategic missteps leading to Walmart’s closures, contrasting with successful strategies employed by other players that focus on consumer demand and market alignment.
  • Impact of Walmart’s closures on the retail healthcare landscape: Panelists discussed the broader implications of Walmart’s decision on the retail healthcare market, considering how it reflects larger industry trends and consumer needs.
  • The role of retail healthcare in community access and value-based care: Debate on how retail healthcare can bridge healthcare gaps in underserved areas, enhancing access to preventive care and chronic disease management.
  • Future strategies for retail healthcare entities: Insights into how retail healthcare can evolve to meet consumer needs more effectively, emphasizing the importance of strategic location selection, consumer-focused services, and integration of technology.

About the Experts

  • Steve Welch: Steve Welch, CEO and Co-Founder of leading retail healthcare brand Restore Hyper Wellness, is a serial entrepreneur with a track record of founding and growing successful ventures. He built Mitos Technologies into a global biotech manufacturing company before selling it to a Fortune 500 company, co-founded DreamIt Ventures, which has launched over 350 companies, and developed KinderTown, an educational app store sold to Demme Learning. Restore Hyper Wellness, an award-winning industry leader, created the innovative category of Hyper Wellness® which focuses on total balance, energy, and proactive healing, aiming to fill the gaps in conventional healthcare through cutting-edge modalities and expert guidance to help people do more of what they love.
  • Shawn Nason: Shawn Nason is the Founder & Chief Experience Officer of boutique design firm MOFI, where he’s advised major brands like Macy’s, NBC Universal, Humana, and Quest Diagnostics. Nason was a critical part of the Walmart Health development journey with his firm MOFI, where he worked with the Walmart Health team to envision and execute on the clinic’s patient experience. Nason is also the former Interim CEO of OFFOR Health and has over 15 years of experience transforming healthcare models to improve access and care for underserved communities. At OFFOR Health, he led initiatives to connect healthcare professionals with patients in local communities, ensuring equal access to care.
  • Matthew Herrera: Matthew Herrera, VP of Sales at Careington, has over 14 years of experience in the healthcare industry, specializing in managing group sales, strategizing with TPAs, employer groups, associations, and affinity groups, and developing relationships with large employer benefit brokers. He is known for designing custom, turnkey programs for various demographics and is a go-to source for dental, vision, and telemedicine benefits.
  • Brian Urban: Brian Urban is the Director of Innovation & Emerging Markets at FinThrive. Previously, he led marketing strategies for the Health Plan and Life Sciences divisions at FinThrive and developed health intervention models at AllianceRx Walgreens Pharmacy. Brian also managed e-health contracts and digital health pilots at the Alzheimer’s Association, improving dementia care. Additionally, he hosts “The Healthcare Rethink” podcast and speaks on health equity and socio-economic data.

Article written by MarketScale.

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