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This summer, Walmart will open two clinics in Rogers and Fort Smith. The two new clinics are modeled after the Walmart Health Clinic at Store #4108 on Elm Springs Road in Springdale, which opened in July 2020.

The retailer will also open five clinics in Florida this summer, providing Walmart with more than 25 clinics that offer primary care services for a flat fee, as well as dental care, labs and imaging.

In Rogers, the new clinic will be attached to Store No. 1 at 2110 W. Walnut St. The clinic at Fort Smith is located at Store #388 at 2100 N. 62nd St. to two new clinics, but permits have been applied to the respective cities and outdoor signage has been installed at the clinics.

Talk Business & Politics recently visited Walmart Health’s Springdale clinic, where Dr. Ronald Searcy, the clinic’s independent physician for hire, was joined by nine other healthcare professionals, including two experienced nurses, mental health professionals, and dentists. Searcy said the Springdale clinic sees an average of 12 to 15 patients a week in person, and there are telemedicine visits during clinic hours.

Walmart executives said the plan for clinics is in line with the retailer’s commitment to making accessible primary care services available in underserved areas. While clinics accept insurance, patients can pay in cash. Searcy said a patient can get a regular visit for $59 out of pocket. The laboratory and imaging are charged separately, but these prices are shown in the clinic lobby. He said cost is one of the main reasons consumers don’t seek medical attention.

“We had one patient who came for a scheduled visit because it was available. We were able to refer her to a specialist when she was diagnosed with cancer and she received the care she needed,” Searcy said.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said during a media Q&A on June 3 that medical clinics are not financially sustainable in their small numbers.

“We are investing in healthcare services because it is the right thing for our clients and should become more sustainable over time with additional clinics and service offerings,” McMillon said.

Walmart is also investing more in paying pharmacists at Walmart and Sam’s Clubs, averaging up to $20 an hour. Walmart said 36,000 technicians will receive a pay raise this week, including 1,110 in Arkansas. Walmart also said it will offer free training to certify pharmacy technicians, which will earn them $3 an hour more than uncertified technicians.

“Our business is growing and we will continue to invest in our entire Health & Wellness team to drive this growth. We also plan to hire approximately 5,000 additional pharmacists this year to support our vision of delivering best-in-class healthcare services,” said Kevin Host, senior vice president of Walmart Health & Wellness.

Walmart said the payment schedule for pharmacists also allows for more frequent allowances, which could be $4 an hour for four years for new hires. Initial pay for Walmart Pharmacy Technicians varies by location. Glassdoor estimates starting wages in Arkansas at $11 an hour. Indeed.com reports that the average salary for pharmacists in Arkansas as of May is $15.74.

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