Walgreens: Humana Senior Clinics May Be Primary Care ‘Template’ In Many Stores

Walgreens Boots Alliance seems more convinced every day that its partnership with Humana developing senior health clinics is critical to the drugstore chain’s future growth as a medical care provider in the U.S.

Walgreens executives continue to praise the early results of a joint venture with Humana developing senior health clinics in the Kansas City market where a pilot of two sites inside drugstores has been underway for about six months.

The effort is designed in part to keep people out of the more expensive hospital setting and make sure Medicare patients have their care more closely monitored by Walgreens pharmacists and physicians in Humana’s health plan networks. The two companies think they can do a better job of reaching patients who visit Walgreens retail locations and making sure they get better care upfront before they get sick.

“We still need to validate the business model and the economics of the clinics, but patient response has been very promising and I believe it has a good chance that this may provide a template for primary care in many of our stores,” Walgreens co-chief operating officer Alex Gourlay told analysts last week on the company’s fiscal 2019 first quarter earnings call.

The Humana senior clinic partnership is part of Walgreens response to rival drugstore chain CVS Health’s acquisition of Aetna, the nation’s third-largest health insurance company. The senior clinics Walgreens is developing with Humana are designed to complement the prescriptions and pharmacy services offered at Walgreens with Humana’s “Partners in Primary Care” centers that opened last year in Kansas City.