Walmart pharmacists in 12 states can now help diagnose and treat patients with COVID-19, strep throat and the flu.
In an effort to provide better access to care for the communities it serves, Walmart has introduced a new Testing and Treatment program that lets its pharmacists test customers for strep throat, the flu and COVID-19, then help treat them in the same place.
Testing and Treatment is now available in 12 states, including Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota, Tennessee and Washington. Patients can either walk in to a participating pharmacy to speak with a pharmacist, or they can use Walmart’s mobile app to make an appointment to be seen.
Currently, the service is cash-only, but the retailer is preparing to be able to bill third-party insurance plans and health savings accounts are being accepted. The price starts around $133 depending on the service provided, with assessments starting at $70 and treatments as little as $4.
Walmart says it hopes to empower pharmacists to help close the gap in the medical field, especially considering a shortage of nearly 48,000 primary care physicians is expected by 2034, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
“We think expanding the scope of our pharmacists’ practice matters now – and will continue to well into the future,” wrote Kevin Host, SVP, health and wellness, pharmacy, in a company blog post. “It’s why we’re investing in our pharmacists at every opportunity, working to ensure Walmart pharmacies remain great places to work.”
In May, Walmart invested in pay raises for thousands of pharmacists and opticians in stores across the country, as well as creating “new paths of opportunity.” The average salary for pharmacists is now more than $140,000, not including bonuses and incentives.
Each week, approximately 230 million customers and members visit Walmart’s more than 10,500 stores and numerous e-commerce websites under 46 banners in 24 countries. The Bentonville, Ark.-based company employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named the company as one of its Retailers of the Century.