Walmart expanding workers' virtual care

The logo outside of a Walmart is shown in this March 17, 2020 file photo. (AP/Matt Rourke)
The logo outside of a Walmart is shown in this March 17, 2020 file photo. (AP/Matt Rourke)

Walmart Inc. has expanded its virtual primary care service for employees and their families nationwide, the company said Tuesday.

The Bentonville-based retailer laid the foundation for virtual care long before the pandemic.

It started a pilot program in three states in 2020.

Because of its success, virtual care was expanded to 16 states and then to 23 this year.

Tuesday's announcement adds the remaining states except Hawaii.

As part of the expansion, virtual primary care is adding digestive health and physical therapy. Most of the benefits are free to employees and their families.

In 2019, Walmart knew that about half of its employees and their families were not seeing primary care physicians, largely because of lack of access, said Lisa Woods, Walmart's vice president of well-being.

The company's goal with the virtual health program is "continuing to build a better, more comprehensive health care experience, along with reducing unnecessary in-patient and emergency room visits," Woods said.

Included Health is Walmart's partner in the virtual primary care expansion, Woods said.

Walmart shares rose $1.76, or 1.1%, to close Tuesday at $157.60. The shares have traded between $165.85 and $128.37 in the past 52 weeks.

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