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Dr. Wal-Mart: May offer more primary healthcare, seeks partners [UPDATED]

Walmart
It’s not enough to be a clothing store, grocer, pharmacy, auto servicer and more. It looks as if Wal-Mart Stores Inc. now plans to play doctor too.

The largest retailer in the country recently sent out a request for information to potential partners to help it offer a range of medical services without the traditionally steep prices.

In the 14-page document, Wal-Mart said that it “intends to build a national, integrated, low-cost primary care healthcare platform that will provide preventative and chronic care services … in an affordable and accessible way.”

Among the areas Wal-Mart is exploring: HIV management, obesity and arthritis monitoring, depression care, pregnancy and STD testing, drug screening, physical exams and even stress and sleep help.

Wal-Mart said it would select partner vendors for clinical care, diagnostic and preventative services, health and wellness products and more by mid-January.

[Update 2:30 p.m.: After the document went public, Wal-Mart released a statement distancing itself from the proposal.

“The RFI statement of intent is overwritten and incorrect," said Dr. John Agwunobi, president of Walmart U.S. Health & Wellness. "We are not building a national, integrated, low-cost primary care health care platform.”]

All this not long after Wal-Mart said that it would no longer give new part-time employees health insurance benefits.

RELATED:

Employer healthcare costs expected to slow in 2012

Wal-Mart cuts health coverage for part-timers, raises premiums

-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo credit: J.D. Pooley / Getty Images

 
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