Walgreens, VillageMD on track to open 29 primary care clinics in Texas this year

VillageMD and retail healthcare giant Walgreens are expanding their primary care footprint with 29 new Village Medical at Walgreens practices throughout Texas.

It's the latest step toward their goal of opening at least 600 such clinics in more than 30 markets over the next four years.

The Village Medical at Walgreens practices will open in Houston, Austin and El Paso this year. The expansion is part of the $1 billion accelerated investment effort announced in January 2021 to deliver healthcare to patients with Village Medical primary care physicians and Walgreens pharmacy services through an integrated care delivery model.

“This strategic partnership between Walgreens and VillageMD demonstrates our continuing commitment to the care and well-being of our patients, and we’re excited to expand our primary care and pharmacy service offerings in Texas,” said Jamie Vortherms, vice president of healthcare services at Walgreens. “With the opening of these Village Medical at Walgreens locations, we’re providing convenient access to personalized, high quality and coordinated care.”

RELATED: Walgreens, VillageMD to open 40 more joint primary care clinics by summer 2021

By leveraging the physician and pharmacist under one roof, patients benefit from improved health outcomes and lowered cost of care. These benefits help patients take the right medication and the right doses at the right time, removing the barriers to accessing primary care and pharmacy by having it all in one place, according to the companies.

A fast-growing operator of primary care clinics, the company has 2,800 employed or partner primary care providers across nine markets. The company's clinics, called Village Medical, offer preventive care, treatment for illness and injury, chronic conditions and telehealth services.

In Austin, El Paso and Houston, there are more than 825,000 patients within five miles of a new or planned Village Medical at Walgreens who are over 65 years old.

“With Village Medical primary care services and Walgreens pharmacy services delivered through an integrated care model, we’re facilitating regular and direct communication with patients, helping deliver improved health outcomes and affordable care,” said Clive Fields, M.D., co-founder and chief medical officer of VillageMD, in a statement. “We’re pleased to expand these offerings in Texas so residents can manage their chronic conditions and focus on being healthy, active members of their community.”

RELATED: Walgreens COO says pandemic has been an 'accelerator' for VillageMD plans

The companies also have expanded their coordinated care model to allow Village Medical patients to access the same type of pharmacy services—including between-visit refills, medication substitutions and comprehensive consultations—from select Walgreens sites that do not have a collocated Village Medical. The service has launched at all collocations and is launching at nine non-collocations in the Houston and Phoenix areas.

With Walgreens being able to digitally access information from Village Medical, patients can receive the same type of coordinated care as they would at collocations, including saving time on prescription refills, navigating insurance coverage, finding less expensive medication alternatives and managing co-pay costs.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted numerous barriers to accessing care, including the various difficulties patients face when navigating an already complex healthcare environment. In Texas, chronic diseases continue to make up the top three causes of death, emphasizing the importance of this streamlined approach for patients to receive coordinated, cost-effective and convenient healthcare.