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Forbes has a story about how Humana, the health care company, has established a partnership with Walgreens to open “‘senior-focused primary care clinics’ inside drugstores in the Kansas City area,” which will “complement Walgreens pharmacy services and Humana’s Partners in Primary Care centers that opened last year in Kansas City.”

Humana CEO Bruce Broussard says that “this collaboration will establish a senior focus, neighborhood based approach to health, creating unique integration among the primary care physician, the pharmacist, and a health plan navigator under one roof. The two in-store clinics will be complemented by health navigation services offered in multiple Walgreens stores in Kansas City … They will be staffed with Humana employees who will be available to serve both Humana members and any customer who comes into the store.”

At the same time, Humana is working with Walmart, looking for ways to work together “on a primary care partnership” that could “expand their relationship that began 13 years ago when the insurer began in 2005 putting Humana sales agents for Medicare Part D drug plans in all of Walmart's stores.”

The bottom line: These burgeoning relationships “are part of an intensifying experiment to make sure patients get the right care, in the right place and at the right time as fee-for-service medicine gives way to value-based care … Humana’s approach is the latest effort to more closely align medical care providers and health insurance companies. The retail approach is also less expensive to build out than building hospitals, surgery centers or new brick and mortar.”
KC's View:
On so many levels, what we are seeing is a slow but inevitable merging of the food and health care industries, as well as the health care and retail industries. There is a greater recognition that people’s health - and health care costs - can be positively impacted by how they eat and how services are provided, and we’re going to see new formats (like Hy-Vee’s new HealthMarket, which debuted this week) being tested.