Walgreens continues to further entwine itself with the health care industry, following a big announcement on Monday.
The Deerfield, Ill.-based retail giant revealed this week that it’s selling all 56 of its in-store Healthcare Clinics in the Chicago area to the state’s largest hospital network. Advocate Health Care, headquartered in Downers Grove, Ill., will supervise and staff each retail clinic with its own nurse practitioners, giving the system a key access point and referral source for its 12 hospitals and 250 sites of care, according to a press release.
“With Walgreens’ unmatched footprint coupled with our leading clinical expertise and commitment to delivering high quality, affordable health care, more patients will have access to the best care when and where they need it,” Lee Sacks, M.D., Advocate’s chief medical officer and executive vice president, said in the release.
Meanwhile, Walgreens currently operates pharmacies on the campuses of three Advocate hospitals, with plans to open three more. The drugstore is placing an emphasis in its strategy on care coordination and ensuring a continuum of care for its customers, with plans to roll out a new electronic health record at its Walgreens-managed clinic locations.
The Illinois health system will take control of the new clinics, branded as “Advocate Clinic at Walgreens,” starting this May. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed. All told, the retailer has some 8,100 locations across the country, but only about 400 have clinics.
This latest sale to Advocate is part of a recent trend of Walgreens outsourcing the operation of its clinics. In August, Seattle-based Providence Health & Services announced plans to open, own and operate up to 25 new Walgreens clinics in Oregon and Washington State.