Walmart's key healthcare moves in 2021: A timeline 

Throughout 2021, Walmart has made key expansions into healthcare, especially within the telehealth space. It has also faced issues from the fallout of the opioid crisis lawsuit.

Below are some of Walmart's key healthcare moves since Jan. 1, as reported by Becker's Hospital Review

Jan. 3: Walmart pharmacists warned the company for years of opioid sales that seemed dangerous or illegal, and some claim Walmart pressured them not to report the suspicious behavior, NPR reported. 

Jan. 4: Walmart Health planned to add seven more stores across the nation by the end of 2021.

Jan. 8: Walmart expanded virtual care benefits available to employees in Colorado, Minnesota and Wisconsin through its telehealth program partnership with Doctor on Demand.

Jan. 25: During the beginning phases of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Walmart expanded its offerings of the vaccine to 11 states and Puerto Rico.

Feb. 19: Insider reported that the company may slow its ambitious push into the healthcare it laid out in 2018.

April 28: Ro, a direct-to-consumer telehealth app for pharmacy services, inked its first retail collaboration with Walmart.

May 6: Walmart Health announced its acquisition of MeMD, a multispecialty telehealth provider, pushing into telehealth.

June 7: It launched a prescription drug saving program, Walmart+ Rx, which offers discounts of up to 85 percent on thousands of commonly prescribed drugs, including heart health, mental health, allergy and diabetes drugs. 

June 7: Walmart Health's primary care medical group filed paperwork to expand virtual care in 16 more states. It emphasised the move was to bolster its telehealth initiative and not its primary care push. 

June 16: The retail giant launched a free digital wallet that people can use to store and share their health information, starting with their COVID-19 vaccine record.

June 29: Walmart announced it would begin offering a less expensive private label version of analog insulin for diabetes patients who struggle to afford their medication.

July 19: Walmart filed paperwork to operate its healthcare business in 37 states, adding on from its filing to operate in 16 states in April and May.

Aug. 29: According to a Wall Street Journal report, Walmart is expanding its healthcare presence to include cost-friendly, easily accessible mental health resources for consumers.

Sept. 7: The retail giant filed to add seven primary care clinics throughout Northeast Florida.

Sept. 10: Walmart, Amazon and Kroger announced they would start selling at-home COVID-19 tests at significantly reduced prices as part of the Biden administration's plan to combat the virus.

Sept. 13: Walmart announced a shake-up of its top leadership to focus on its healthcare push.

Sept. 25: At Walmart wellness day, the company offered COVID-19 vaccines and other immunization at 4,700 stores nationwide.

Sept 27: Epic's electronic health record is set to be used in Walmart Health clinics to engage with patients, payers and healthcare providers.

Sept. 29: Walmart Health clinics seemed to be struggling with some basic operations such as price transparency, billing and credentialing physicians. Some patients reported overpaying.

Sept. 29: Walmart announced it was looking to hire 150,000 new store associates across the country in time for the winter holiday season and beyond.

Oct. 15: Walmart launched a go-to-market solution for self-insured employers of all sizes. It is offering its savings on pharmaceuticals and other services to self-insured employers for the first time.

Oct. 25: The District Court of Central California on Oct. 20 awarded $27.5 million to a former Walmart employer for denying her breaks and overtime after she filed a class-action lawsuit against Walmart. 

Nov. 11: The end of a multiyear agreement between Express Scripts and Walmart means that service members who receive health insurance through TRICARE cannot fill prescriptions at Walmart. The change is effective Dec. 15. 

Nov. 18: Walmart announced that it has inked a partnership with drone company Zipline to instantly deliver healthcare items to consumers in Arkansas.

Nov. 23: A federal jury ruled that Walmart, along with CVS Health and Walgreens, had substantially contributed to the opioid crisis in two Ohio counties.

 

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