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Wal-Mart Expands In-Store Health Clinics With Own Brand

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Bentonville, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will open its first in-store medical clinics under its own brand name after leasing space in dozens of stores to outside companies that operate the quick-service health stops.

The retailer said Thursday it will open "The Clinic at Wal-Mart" as a joint venture with local hospital systems in Atlanta, Dallas and Little Rock, Ark., starting in April.

Wal-Mart has clinics in 77 stores, including nine in Wisconsin and Florida, operated by local hospitals. Clinics in 23 locations in Florida and three other Southern states have been in limbo since last month when the operator, New York-based CheckUps, shut down.

Now, Wal-Mart has signed a letter of intent to work with local hospital systems and RediClinic to open co-branded walk-in clinics in 200 Wal-Mart Supercenters. It has also signed a letter of intent to partner directly with St. Vincent Health System, a part of the Catholic Healthcare Initiatives system, to open four co-branded clinics in Little Rock.

Co-branding means the clinics will jointly bear the names of Wal-Mart and its partners and have an identical look and record-keeping system, Wal-Mart spokeswoman Deisha Galberth said.

Wal-Mart said this is the first step toward opening 400 co-branded clinics by 2010.

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