‘Home-Based Care Is Going to Become More Important’: VillageMD Continues Expanding US Footprint

The past year has been a busy one for VillageMD. In 2020, Walgreens Boots Alliance (Nasdaq: WBA) entered into a partnership with the startup and announced that it would be investing $1 billion in the value-based primary care provider over the following three years.

Since then, VillageMD — through its subsidiary Village Medical — has expanded through co-locations with Walgreens, de novos and acquisitions of other providers. Most recently, it announced the acquisition of Hatfield Medical Group of Arizona last week, along with its plan to open 29 full-service primary care practices in Texas this year.

As the company has expanded its footprint, its focus has remained on a new-age primary care mission: one that involves the home, incorporates a team-based approach and strives for value-based care — especially for patients in underserved areas.


“Home-based care is just going to become even more important,” Dr. Clive Fields, VillageMD’s co-founder and CMO, told Home Health Care News. “With the use of technology, teams and analytics, we think we can drive the same kinds of results for people who previously just may not have that access, either because of where they lived or because of the transportation that was available to them.”

Chicago-based Village Medical provides primary care for patients at traditional free-standing clinics, Walgreens clinics, homes and virtually. It has grown to 15 markets and is responsible for more than 1.6 million patients. As of March, the company had only been in nine markets.

Going forward, the brand is especially bullish about its Village Medical at Home arm, which provides patients with doctors and nurse practitioners in their own living spaces.


Taking over the Hatfield Medical Group brand will give Village Medical nine additional locations in Arizona. The pairing was, as Fields put it, “a group as closely aligned to the VillageMD vision as any that we’ve ever had the opportunity to work with.”

As for the company’s Texas expansion, the 29 new primary care practices in El Paso, Houston and Austin will be Village Medical at Walgreens locations. The plan keeps the partners — Walgreens and VillageMD — on track to hit their goal of opening at least 600 Village Medical at Walgreens locations in more than 30 U.S. markets over the next four years.

“We’re thrilled that we have met our first year goal, and we anticipate meeting those future goals as well,” Fields said. “And we are thrilled at the reception of these clinics. People truly are looking for accessible, high quality advanced primary care. And our team of at-home nurse practitioners continue to be a really important part of how we deliver care to our oldest and most fragile patients.”

One of the hardest parts about executing its mission still remains educating physicians on all that its team-based approach can offer.

Physicians that have long operated as productive individual performers may not be used to a more team-based approach, one that can include far more touch points and even incorporate home-based care at a higher level, Fields said.

“There is a challenge to help physicians recognize that they do not have to be the only thing between their patients and a bad result,” Fields said. “The move to team-based care is something that may not come naturally. But when it does come, they certainly recognize that being the leader of a group of professionals is far more valuable than being a single high performer.”

Overall, the proliferation of VillageMD locations does not just have to do with its strategic partnership with Walgreens nor strictly internal successes, however. Legislative tailwinds, such as direct contracting opportunities, have also aided the company’s progress.

VillageMD itself is a part of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Global and Professional Direct Contracting Model, which allows private health care providers to care for Medicare patients with the goal of reducing overall costs. The company estimates that it serves more than 56,000 patients currently through direct contracting.

“We’re really pleased that we are the largest provider within the direct contracting programs managing fee-for-service Medicare patients to improve total cost of care and quality,” Fields said. “We’re seeing more and more patients moving to an economic model that supports early intervention, wellness and the kinds of comprehensive home-based care that we know meet the needs of both patients and their families.”

Though direct contracting models — a Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) creation — were paused temporarily while the Joe Biden administration took over, health care insiders and VillageMD are bullish on their continuation moving forward.

“We are certainly supportive of the expansion of the program, and we think that the kinds of results we’ve delivered in the Medicare Advantage population can also be delivered in a more traditional fee-for-service Medicare population,” Fields said.

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