Walmart Surprisingly Closes 51 In-Store Health Centers

See why the retail giant is saying goodbye to healthcare

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Updated July 18, 2024
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Everyone knows Walmart is one of the best places to save on groceries, but what about healthcare? It may seem like a no-brainer, but the retail juggernaut’s jump into the industry is grinding to a halt after just a handful of years.

The first Walmart health center opened in 2019, and since then, the retail giant has expanded its health centers to 51 stores across 5 states. In March 2023, Walmart announced they were expanding once again, with an additional 28 locations, including health centers in two new states, Missouri and Arizona.

This announcement would create more than 75 health centers nationwide by the end of 2024. However, in a shocking turn, Walmart announced in April 2024 that it was closing all 51 health center locations and shuttering the program completely. 

The reason? Lack of profitability. See how this will impact your local Walmart and what it’s planning to do instead.

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Arkansas

The Toidi/Adobe walmart store logo sign

Arkansas is home to three Walmart health centers. While the presence wasn’t great in the retailer's birthplace, the closure of these locations could make accessing affordable health care more challenging for these communities.

Florida

M. Suhail/Adobe walmart vision center

Walmart’s largest health center presence is in the Sunshine State. The goal of these health centers is to connect providers and patients — building connections in the community. 

With 23 health centers around the state, Florida residents will probably feel this news the most out of any state.

Georgia

Refrina/Adobe walmart store sign

Walmart has 17 health centers in Georgia. This news is a major disappointment for the state, which is ranked 44th for healthcare access and 47th in healthcare affordability across the nation. 

The loss of Walmart health centers is likely to perpetuate these standings for Georgia residents.

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Illinois

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Illinois’ only remaining Walmart health center is located in Chicago. The impact will likely be small, as Walmart closed other stores and health centers in the area in 2023 — citing the lack of profitability.

Texas

The Toidi/Adobe Walmart Pharmacy sign inside Walmart store.

While these health centers don’t have the largest presence in Texas, Walmart had planned to expand widely in the Lone Star State — with 18 new health centers planned for 2024. This abrupt change in direction for the retailer will likely leave many Texans disappointed at the announcement.

Pharmacies still available

Refrina/Adobe walmart store exterior

Walmart has over 4,500 pharmacies inside stores across the nation. Health centers weren’t an expansion of pharmacy services — these locations offered several same-day services like:

  • Same-day primary care
  • Primary care by appointment
  • Dental care
  • Behavioral health appointments
  • Labs
  • X-rays

The closure of Walmart health centers will not impact pharmacy operations. You will still be able to obtain prescription medications, receive immunizations, and get tests for the Flu, Strep Throat, and COVID-19.

Employee Impact

jetcityimage/Adobe walmart trolley inside store

Considering the massive expansion that Walmart had planned for its health centers, this shift will have a significant impact on the staff operating these facilities. 

The final date for operations is Friday, June 28th, 2024. In an effort to ease the transition, Walmart has offered the following concessions to current employees of its health centers:

  • Associates are able to transfer to another Walmart or Sam’s Club location
  • Associates will be paid for 90 days unless they transfer or terminate their employment
  • At the end of 90 days, eligible associates will receive severance benefits

Walmart vs. Amazon

Sundry Photography/Adobe amazon logo

Amazon, though primarily an online retailer, is one of Walmart’s biggest competitors. Amazon dove into the healthcare space when it acquired One Medical in 2023.

Walmart's expansion into the healthcare space made sense, given that so many locations already have pharmacy services. With 90% of the US population living within 10 miles of a Walmart, the idea was to become a one-stop shop for all your needs, including healthcare.

Unfortunately, Walmart decided to end the venture completely because it just wasn’t profitable. The company stated:

 “We understand that this change will affect lives — the patients who receive care, the associates and providers who deliver care, and the communities who supported us along the way.”

“This is a difficult decision, and like others, the challenging reimbursement environment and escalating operating costs create a lack of profitability that makes the care business unsustainable for us at this time.”

What’s next for Walmart?

Zoran Karapancev/Adobe walmart supermarket store

After announcing the abrupt end to its foray into healthcare what’s next for the retail giant?

Based on their 2024 announcements, Walmart is leaning heavily into investing in technology. Everything from robotic fulfillment centers to AI shopping suggestions, Walmart believes that AI and AR are the future of retail.

Walmart is also focused on expanding its reach. In 2024, the store plans to build or remodel an additional 150 locations.

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Bottom line

JHVEPhoto/Adobe walmart store logo sign ontario

Walmart is the perfect place to save on everyday essentials, but its move into health care didn’t go as planned. As a result, the big-box store has decided to step away from healthcare for the time being.

The final date for operations for in-person Walmart health centers is Friday, June 28th, 2024. Virtual appointments ceased as of Saturday, June 1, 2024. 

If you need refills, test results, or to move your records, contact your local Walmart health center before then. Remember, Walmart pharmacies and optical centers will not be affected by the closures and will continue to operate as normal.

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Author Details

Holly Humbert

Holly is a writer who recognizes that there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to personal finance. She is passionate about entrepreneurship, women in business, and financial literacy. With more than four years of experience, her work has been featured on MarketWatch and The Ways to Wealth.