Walgreens partners with Buckeye Health for in-store health care

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Walgreens Health
Walgreens is opening new Walgreens Health locations in five northeast Ohio neighborhood locations this summer (Photo: Walgreens).

Walgreens is bringing in-store health care spaces to select stores in Ohio.

The drugstore giant is expanding its “Health Corner” concept to five stores in northeast Ohio. The Walgreens division of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. is collaborating with Ohio-based managed health insurance company Buckeye Health Plan to bring health and wellness services to Medicaid members at the Ohio stores, beginning in summer 2022.

Buckeye Health Plan is the third payer to partner with Walgreens Health to launch Walgreens Health Corner locations. With additional partners in California and New Jersey across commercial and Medicare plan patient populations respectively, Walgreens Health is now contracted to serve more than 2.27 million patients. By the end of 2022, the number of current Walgreens Health Corners will expand from 55 to approximately 100 locations, which include the additional five in Ohio.

Walgreens Health Corner locations will offer eligible Ohio Medicaid members access to an integrated healthcare offering led by “health advisors,” who are pharmacists or registered nurses. Health advisors will provide a range of health and clinical services that supplement care received from primary care physicians and specialists.

Services that will be offered at Walgreens Health Corner locations range from preventive care and wellness checks to assistance with managing chronic conditions.The services will be available at no additional cost to eligible Buckeye Health Plan members in northeast Ohio.

This initiative is part of a wider push by Walgreens into health care. Last year, the company acquired the majority stake of VillageMD, and currently operates 120 co-located Village Medical primary-care clinics. The company is looking to have at least 600 Village Medical primary care clinics at Walgreens locations in more than 30 U.S. markets by 2025, with a goal of 1,000 by 2027.

This new collaboration follows a Walgreens Pharmacy pilot program launched with Buckeye Health Plan in 2021 to support asthma and COPD patients as part of a multi-phased approach to support comprehensive expanded clinical services. Through the pilot, Walgreens pharmacists counseled patients on how to use their inhalers, provided proactive outreach to non-adherent patients, and used predictive modeling to reach out to people at high risk for becoming non-adherent.

To date, more than 1,900 pharmacist consultations have been completed. Learnings from the pilot will be applied to future disease state management programs between Walgreens and Buckeye Health.

“Healthcare is inherently local. Our collaboration with Buckeye Health Plan will allow us to tailor our health services based on the needs of the Medicaid members and communities we serve,” said John Do, interim president and CFO of Walgreens Health. “These services are designed to reduce gaps between recommended best practices for a patient’s care and the care that's actually provided, as well as to improve care management and coordination through access to more affordable and convenient services where Buckeye Health Plan members live.”

Walgreens Boots Alliance is an integrated healthcare, pharmacy and retail company with approximately 13,000 locations across the U.S., Europe and Latin America.