Walmart to close 51 clinics as it shutters its entire Walmart Health division

Walmart will close all 51 of its doctor-staffed health clinics as part of an announcement that its Walmart Health initiative is shutting down.

The clinics, in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois and Texas, have been open just a few years. Walmart also said Tuesday it is winding down its virtual care option.

Walmart pharmacies and vision centers will not be affected.

Patients with scheduled appointments will continue to be seen, and Walmart will make efforts to direct patients to high-quality providers in their insurance networks to ensure they continue to get care, CNBC reported.

The announcement is a swift reversal for the retail giant. Just last month, Walmart said it hoped to expand the number of doctor-staffed clinics to 70 by the end of this year.

But amid rising costs and competition, the company determined it could not financially justify the effort.

“Through our experience managing Walmart Health centers and Walmart Health Virtual Care, we determined there is not a sustainable business model for us to continue,” the company said Tuesday in a statement announcing the move.

Offering health care services has proven difficult for nontraditional providers.

Last month, Walgreens said it had closed 140 of its VillageMD primary care clinics, with plans to shutter 20 more. A high-profile joint health venture among Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase also failed several years ago, although Amazon continues to invest in One Medical, which it acquired last year and which has more than 125 locations.

About half the Walmart Health clinics were in Florida, and last fall Walmart announced a partnership with Orlando Health, a private, not-for-profit network of community and specialty hospitals. That effort, too, is winding down, CNBC reported.