Walgreens Retail Clinics in Chicago to Move Under Health-System Management

January 12th 2016

Walgreens is handing off ownership and operations of its 56 retail clinics across the Chicagoland area to its health-system partner Advocate Health Care.

Walgreens is handing off ownership and operations of its 56 retail clinics across the Chicagoland area to its health-system partner Advocate Health Care.

The clinics will be rebranded as Advocate Clinic at Walgreens and open under Advocate this May. Walgreens currently operates on-site pharmacies at 3 Advocate hospitals, with plans to expand to 3 more in the near future.

The shift is part of Walgreens’ increasing strategy to strengthen care coordination for patients by handing off retail clinic operations to local providers. The drugstore chain announced a similar deal last year with Providence Health & Services to open 25 new retail clinics inside Walgreens stores in Oregon and Washington.

“We believe this approach will help ensure a true continuum of care for patients and their providers,” said Walgreens Healthcare Clinics chief medical officer Pat Carroll, MD, in a press release. “This is also an emphasis for our Walgreens-managed clinics, where we continue to make investments, such as anew EHR platform, to offer patient benefits through a variety of convenient care options.”

Advocate chief medical office Lee Sacks, MD, toldForbesthat the health system sees “thousands of patients in the emergency room,” so “hopefully, we can be more successful in directing some of them to Advocate Clinics at Walgreens.”

Advocate sees staffing retail clinics as a way to extend its “ambulatory footprint,” Dr. Sacks toldForbes.

The rebranded clinics will be staffed by board-certified nurse practitioners employed, trained, and supervised by Advocate Medical Group, according to a company press release.

Advocate intends to attempt to hire its initial workforce from among the employees currently working at Walgreens retail clinic locations in the greater Chicagoland area, which are currently staffed by Walgreens’ own employees and nurse practitioners.

The 56 retail clinics that Advocate will operate account for about 14% of Walgreens’ more than 400 Healthcare Clinics across the United States.

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