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Cover Story: Black Friday for healthcare? How retail clinics are influencing real estate strategies

HREI11-14FrontCoverBy Murray W. Wolf

CVS is aggressively opening new MinuteClinics nationwide. Walgreens Healthcare Clinics have moved beyond low-level primary care into disease management. Target recently announced a retail clinic partnership with Kaiser Permanente – Kaiser’s first. And Walmart just opened several new retail clinics with an “everyday low price” of $40 per visit – or a mere $4 for Walmart employees. What’s behind the recent flurry of retail clinic activity, and what are the implications for the healthcare industry – and healthcare real estate (HRE)?

Since the first retail clinic opened in 2000 (please see “A brief history of retail clinics” below for an overview of the sector), few topics have generated as much interest – or indigestion – in the healthcare business and HRE sector. Hospital and health system administrators as well as physicians have long complained that retail clinics will steal away primary care patients, and HRE professionals feared that there would be less demand for medical office space if more care was delivered in retail stores.

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