Veterans could now have a VA appointment at some Walmart locations thanks to a new partnership between the massive retailer and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Last week, VA cut the ribbon on one of its first locations, a Walmart in Asheboro, N.C. Other sites are in Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa.
Veterans can meet with their VA providers in a private room at Walmart through video chat. The services will vary by Walmart location, with some including primary care, nutrition, mental health and social work.
The goal is to reach veterans who live in more rural or remote locations farther from VA hospitals and clinics.
“This type of collaboration is the way of the future,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a statement. “Veterans need the expansion of choice, and this partnership is vital to affording them convenient access to VA health care services where they live.”
It's still a pilot program, so the telehealth services won't be available at all Walmart locations yet.
“As both a veteran of the Air Force and a father whose son and son-in-law are serving, I know firsthand how important support and access is for our military, especially when it comes to health care,” Chief Growth Officer for Walmart U.S. Health and Wellness, Daryl Risinger, said in a statement. “Walmart is committed to making quality health care affordable and accessible and is working with VA to expand its ability to serve veterans through technology. This is another way we are helping our communities live better.”
Walmart donated the equipment and space at the five sites.
Last fiscal year, more than 490,000 veterans had more than 1.3 million video telehealth appointments.