Walgreens Health Corners network expands with new partnership with Buckeye in Ohio

Diving brief:

  • Walgreens has partnered with managed care company Buckeye Health Plan in Ohio to open new Health Corner locations in five of the state’s northeast neighborhoods this summer.
  • Buckeye is the third payer to launch Walgreens Health Corner locations, community clinics intended to supplement the care received from primary and specialty care physicians.
  • About 2.3 million patients will have access to Health Corner services at 60 sites in Ohio, California and New Jersey by the end of the summer, Walgreens said Tuesday. By the end of this year, Walgreens plans to increase the number of Health Corners from 55 to about 100, including new locations in Ohio.

Overview of the dive:

Through the Buckeye partnership, the new Health Corners will provide eligible Ohio Medicaid members with access to integrated care led by health advisors, who are either pharmacists or registered nurses.

Services revolve around preventative care, wellness checks and assistance with chronic disease management, including health screenings such as blood pressure checks, appointment scheduling for mammogram or answering general health questions or medication concerns.

In northeast Ohio, the services will be available free to Buckeye members, Walgreens said. The company will share services and patient outcomes with Buckeye and other patient providers.

The new partnership follows a Walgreens Pharmacy pilot program with Buckeye in 2021 focused on asthma and COPD patients, where Buckeye reimbursed Walgreens pharmacists for counseling patients on how to use their inhalers, identifying and providing outreach services non-adherent patients and more.

The retail pharmacy company launched Walgreens Health, a division for its healthcare assets, including value-based medical network VillageMD and home care provider CareCentrix, in October. Walgreens Health’s goal is to develop consumer-focused, technology-based health products.

Walgreens invested in the development of the division.

Late last year, the company doubled its stake in VillageMD with an additional investment of $5.2 billion. It also invested $330 million in homecare provider CareCentrix and funneled another $970 million into specialty pharmacy company Shields Health Solutions.

In a phone call with investors in October, management said it planned to expand its health and wellness services and was willing to accept risk-based contracts.

The Walgreens and VillageMD co-branded clinics, as well as the Health Corner concept, are at the heart of this effort, as Walgreens – like its retail pharmacy rivals CVS Health and Walmart – seeks to capture more of the continuum of care. and corresponding income.

Last week, Walgreens announced the launch of a clinical trials business. Ramita Tandon, head of clinical trials, said in a statement that the new division is “yet another way to build our next growth engine of consumer-centric healthcare solutions.”

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