Retail giants use telehealth to enter mental health market

CVS, Walmart, Rite Aid and Walgreens have entered the telehealth market to make mental healthcare more accessible, according to a May 7 article by The New York Times.

Here's how four of the retail pharmacy giants have added mental health services using telehealth:

CVS: The pharmacy chain has added licensed clinical social workers trained in cognitive behavioral therapy to 13 locations in Houston, Philadelphia and Tampa, Fla. The providers will offer mental health assessments, referrals and counseling either in person or through telehealth. This spring, the company plans to expand its services to 34 locations in the same three cities, a CVS spokesperson told The New York Times.

Walmart: The retail giant said on May 6 that it is expecting to acquire MeMD, which offers on-demand medical and mental health visits, in the next few months. Walmart also has a partnership with Doctor on Demand to offer services to its 1.3 million workers nationwide. In February 2019, Walmart dropped the price of virtual visits for employees from $40 to $4 per visit, and during the pandemic, the company has offered telehealth for free to employees covered by Walmart's health insurance plan. 

Rite Aid: The drugstore is piloting teletherapy in "virtual care rooms" at 13 stores in Idaho, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Virginia, a spokesperson said.

Walgreens: The retail chain is launching therapy appointments through its web platform, Walgreens Find Care, which connects customers to teletherapy providers like BetterHelp. Walgreens also offers free online mental health screenings through a partnership with Mental Health America.

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