Dollar General has announced plans to open three mobile health clinics on a pilot basis at locations in Middle Tennessee, making the discount retail giant the latest brand to step into the burgeoning “medtail” space.
The brand is partnering with mobile health and transportation company DocGo Inc. to operate the clinics in vans in parking lots of three Dollar General Stores in the Volunteer State. The clinics will accept Medicaid/TennCare, Medicare and other insurance and will be available for scheduled appointments or on a walk-in basis.
The rollout is part of the brand’s DGWellbeing initiative, which aims to provide both preventative care and urgent care services, as well as care for chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, and COPD.
“These clinics demonstrate our ability and desire to work with our customers to bring affordable health and wellness closer to home while equally establishing Dollar General as a trusted partner where customers can access health services,” said Dr. Albert Wu, Dollar General’s chief medical officer, in a media release.
The move is part of a larger shift among retailers to delivery of at least some types of healthcare services.
“Top U.S. retailers are quickly joining the healthcare industry, including Walmart, Walgreens and CVS and private equity firms are eager to invest in these types of healthcare providers, most notably those with urgent care clinics,” says Barrie Scardina of Cushman & Wakefield. She notes that an “omnichannel approach” to healthcare has been en vogue as of late with big box retailers like Walmart acquiring telehealth technology and pharmacy giant CVS acquiring Aetna External Link.
“Retailers are considering the new healthcare mix as an opportunity to grow their business which will lead to an increased real estate footprint,” Scardina says.
In 2020, Walgreens struck a $1 billion deal to open primary care offices in its drugstores. At the time, Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and CEO of the Walgreens Boots Alliance called these clinics “a significant step forward in creating the pharmacy of the future, meeting many essential health needs all under one roof as well as through other channels.”
Consumer utilization of retail-oriented clinics is also increasing: during the pandemic, 32% of consumers increased their use of such clinics and 49% of respondents said that they are now more likely to use a retail health clinic.