[Updated] Walmart Health, Amedisys Partner to Expand Home Health Access Nationwide

Amedisys Inc. (Nasdaq: AMED) and Walmart (NYSE: WMT) have entered into a new partnership to expand home health care access nationwide, according to an analyst report from William Blair.

The global investment and wealth management firm has learned that Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based Amedisys is part of the retail giant’s new health care initiative, dubbed “Walmart Health.”

The news comes after Walmart announced its health care push earlier this month. The goal is to provide services from clinic-based primary care and counseling to home-based care and dentistry at a reduced cost, Walmart’s president of health and wellness Sean Slovenski previously told Business Insider.

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Already, Walmart has opened its first 10,000 square-foot health center in Dallas, Georgia. The location is adjacent to a Walmart store there.

“We are testing a variety of services with partners in our Walmart Health prototype in Dallas, Georgia,” a Walmart spokesperson told Home Health Care News. “Among them is home health, hospice and personal care, so if a customer has questions or needs information, they can discuss with the on-site partner, Amedisys.”

William Blair analyst Matt Larew provided more details in his Wednesday report. The prototype clinic features an Amedisys kiosk, which is designed to help educate customers and potential patients on the home health services it provides, he wrote.

On top of that — and maybe even more importantly — Amedisys is a care coordination partner and preferred provider for the Walmart Health initiative, according to the report.

“If Walmart Health is successful in redirecting patient flow from the primary care algorithm into its locations, or driving additional patient interactions by providing more convenient access points, Amedisys stands to benefit from any home health referrals generated,” Larew wrote.

That benefit is potentially massive: About 90% of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a Walmart, and more than half of the population shops in Walmart weekly. Plus, the company plans to open as many as 200 more health clinic locations over the next several years, the report says.

Specifically, if pilots of the model are successful, Walmart intends to deepen its health presence in Georgia and expand elsewhere in the country.

“In addition, Walmart is the largest self-insured employer in the country,” Larew wrote. “So the disruptive potential of Walmart (and its partners) in health care, in our view, remains vastly underappreciated.”

While the specifics of the partnership are new, those following the retail giant’s health push may have seen the writing on the wall. Last week, Slovenski told Business Insider he was especially interested in partnering with outside companies to provide behavioral health, telemedicine and in-home care services.

“We see these as being a crown jewel of what we want to accomplish in the physical world, in the home, and in the virtual world as well,” Slovenski said.

Amedisys has been making partnership news all summer: In July, the publicly traded home health behemoth struck an agreement with technology company ClearCare Inc. The deal allows Amedisys to partner with personal care companies nationwide to supplement its services without having to acquire new targets.

To date, Amedisys is partnering with more than 700 home care agencies representing 80,000 caregivers nationwide, CEO and President Paul Kusserow told attendees Wednesday at HHCN’s annual summit.

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