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2 More Walgreens Will Offer Primary Care To Seniors In Kansas City Test Program

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KCUR 89.3
Putting retail health clinics in drug stores and supermarkets has become a growing trend over the last two decades.

Two healthcare giants are expanding a pilot program in the Kansas City area aimed at using their drug stores to provide primary care and other services to Medicare beneficiaries.

Humana and Walgreens announced on Tuesday that they plan to open two primary care centers in area Walgreens stores in addition to the two they opened last year.

“The decision to expand our test-and-learn collaboration in both the Kansas City area and a new market — Anderson, South Carolina — reflects our ongoing commitment to provide integrated care that meets the unique health care needs of seniors in convenient locations in their neighborhoods,” Renee Buckingham, president of Humana’s Care Delivery Organization, said in a statement.

The centers, which will occupy approximately 2,500 square feet, will be staffed by a board-certified physician and "holistic care teams" including a registered nurse, social worker and behavior health specialist, according to the companies' joint announcement.

The two new centers will be located in the Walgreens stores at 75th and Metcalf in Overland Park, Kansas, and 13000 U.S. Highway 71 in Grandview, Missouri. The companies previously opened centers at 2630 N.E. Vivion Road in Kansas City, Missouri, and 9300 E. Gregory Road in Raytown, Missouri.

The centers, which offer primary care, pharmacy, nutrition and wellness support services, aim to provide care upfront and avoid expensive trips to the hospital. They're part of a growing trend that began about two decades ago — situating retail health clinics in pharmacies, big box stores and supermarkets — to meet the growing need for affordable, off-hours, non-emergency medical treatment.

Walgreens rival CVS Health last month announced it was expanding its "HealthHub" concept to 1,500 of its stores across the country by the end of 2021. The stores will include expanded health clinics and labs for blood testing and health screenings.

Humana and Walgreens launched their "Partners in Primary Care" partnership in Kansas City in June 2018. The idea behind the effort is to develop long-term relationships with Medicare customers with chronic conditions.

"We are finding that seniors appreciate not just the high quality of clinical care, but also the social interactions, the personal attention, the convenience and the enhanced coordination between their pharmacist, physician and the health guides we have on site," Jim OConor, senior vice president of Walgreens Neighborhood Health Destinations, said in a statement.

Dan Margolies is a senior reporter and editor at KCUR. You can reach him on Twitter @DanMargolies.

As a reporter covering breaking news and legal affairs, I want to demystify often-complex legal issues in order to expose the visible and invisible ways they affect people’s lives. I cover issues of justice and equity, and seek to ensure that significant and often under-covered developments get the attention they deserve so that KCUR listeners and readers are equipped with the knowledge they need to act as better informed citizens. Email me at dan@kcur.org.
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