CNBC reports that “CVS said Wednesday that it plans to acquire or take a stake in a primary-care company by the end of the year, as competition heats up with Amazon and Walgreens.
“CEO Karen Lynch said on the company’s second-quarter earnings call that the company wants to team up with a provider that has a strong management team and tech background and the ability to grow quickly.”
The story notes that while CVS operates Minute Clinics where patients can get vaccinations and low-level medical care, it does not have offices where people can get checkups from either a doctor or nurse practitioner.
CNBC says that “other health-care players have already made moves in the space. Rival Walgreens Boots Alliance is opening hundreds of doctor offices in partnership with VillageMD and became the majority owner of the company. Walmart has a small, but growing number of clinics where people can visit a doctor, dentist or therapist for a low price.
“Amazon ratcheted up pressure by announcing last month that it would acquire primary-care provider One Medical for about $3.9 billion. The boutique health-care company has 188 medical offices across 25 markets, according to its latest quarterly results.”
The story quotes CEO Lynch as saying that CVS can build “from the strong foundation that we already have.”
I understand the impulse; CVS, with its various initiatives, has long signaled its desire to get into primary care and have a broader presence in the health care continuum. The Amazon purchase of One Medical probably accelerated things a bit.
That said, I continue to believe that CVS needs to do a lot better job in the businesses where it already is operating before people start trusting it for a greater level of medical care.
I went to a local CVS in Connecticut the other day to pick up a prescription. There were three checkouts at the pharmacy counter, but only one person was working there. The wait was more than 15 minutes. And, while I was waiting, this is what I was looking at:
Doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. This is, to be blunt, a mess … and if they can’t get the small things right, I’m not sure anyone should trust them with the big stuff.
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