Wal-Mart Closes Health Clinics

Probably most of you already knew this. I predicted long ago they would not last long.

The first area Wal-Mart tried medical and dental clinics was the Midwest. They closed these a while back.

When I saw the fees the Atlanta clinics offered, I thought, “There is no way they can make this concept work for these low fees.”

So many times corporate America thinks they will show us health care providers how it is done. Yet they are ignorant of the true overhead in medical and dental practices. Dental hygienists are demanding $50 an hour. How could Wal-Mart offer dental cleanings for $25???

Got quite a few patients from Wal-Mart who had CAT scans for $25 on a CD-ROM and never could seem to get any treatment done. There was constant staff turnover of inexperienced new graduates.

Over and over, I tell patients they make a big mistake going to corporate clinics. Most of the time they have to discover this for themselves.

Been a while since only spending $50 / hour. Last cleaning was $195.

$195 included the cleaning, recall exam by the dentist, and probably x-rays. Not the cleaning alone. That is high by Atlanta standards. Don’t know where you are.

Payroll and benefits up hourly cost to $60 or more an hour. Instruments wear out and cost about $35 each. A hygiene operatory costs about $30K to furnish. Then there is the cost of disposables. Don’t forget the labor to sterilize and resharpen instruments, which the patient never sees.

At $25 per cleaning Wal-Mart was deep in the red. As well as for other services, both medical and dental. It was a faulty business model from the get-go.

Nope. Just cleaning. X-rays are more, and I don’t recall a charge for a dentist quick peek. We have been going to him for 25 years, so that might help [in CAL]

Talked to a dentist in Washington state recently. Said hygienists there were demanding and getting $90 an hour. I can only imagine California is the same or higher.

That is as much as fill-in dentists make in Georgia. Incredible the shortage of labor in health care and the wages we have to pay! And patients think private practice owners are making so much money.