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BENTONVILLE, AR-Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will swap out existing in-store clinics from leased scenarios to an ownership model. In doing so, the retail kingpin has inked the first of three hospital partnerships to launch the initiative.

Operating under the “Clinic at Wal-Mart” brand, the medical clinics will be situated in 550-sf spaces at the front of Wal-Mart Supercenters. The goal is to have 400 in-store clinics up and running by 2010. The targeted cities are Little Rock, Atlanta and Dallas although no addresses are available as yet.

Wal-Mart and Houston-based RediClinic LLC have signed a deal for 200 co-branded in-store clinics. In addition, a four-clinic agreement has been inked with the St. Vincent Health System of Little Rock, which will open its first one at the end of April in tandem with RediClinic’s first in-store launch in Atlanta. By summer, Wal-Mart, RediClinic and a local hospital system in Dallas will be bringing clinics on line.

Wal-Mart plans to operate all clinics in conjunction with a local hospital. Partnerships for Atlanta and Dallas haven’t been released.

The clinic model is two-fold: providing affordable and accessible solutions for healthcare. “This meets our goals of providing medical care,” says a spokeswoman for St. Vincent Health System. “This provides another option to have their acute medical needs seen to.”

Wal-Mart plans that most RediClinics will go into stores that already have medical clinics, but are being operated by different healthcare operators through leased arrangements. According to a Wal-Mart spokeswoman, the clinics will be moved under the “Clinic at Wal-Mart” brand as the other healthcare providers’ leases expire.

“Right now, if you go into the clinics in different states, they have a different operator, a different name and a different feel,” the Wal-Mart spokeswoman tells GlobeSt.com. “With the new model, all clinics will be consistent in look and feel–and there will always be a tie-in with a local hospital system. That’s imperative.”

The spokeswoman says each clinic will have two or more full exam rooms, a clinic-dedicated bathroom and a check-in area separated from Wal-Mart’s shopping area. She adds there is no further roll-out planned other than the three targeted cities.

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