Walmart Clarifies, Sort Of

Photo by code poet via Flickr

Does Walmart aim to be a major player in the world of primary care health services – or not?
A request for information letter the retailer sent to its strategic partners in late October says the firm wants just that – but  Walmart backed off on its own document Wednesday, calling  part of it “overwritten and incorrect.”

We asked spokeswoman Tara Raddohl to clarify. Raddohl said the incorrect part referred only to the opening section titled “intent.”

That section reads, in its entirety:

This Request for Information (RFI) is being sent to potential vendors who currently have products or services that may address all or part of the requirements associated with Walmart’s strategic direction. Walmart intends to build a national, integrated, low-cost primary care healthcare platform that will provide preventative and chronic care services that are currently out of reach for millions of Americans. Walmart intends to do this in an affordable and accessible way while maintaining or improving quality outcomes. Walmart seeks partners who have a care model or capability that can help dramatically drive down the cost of care, while maintaining or improving quality on a national level.”

Walmart did not dispute the authenticity of the document. Raddohl would not give any details on what role, exactly, Walmart wants to play in health care – and she would not elaborate on other parts of the 14-page request for information.

Other sections of the information request refer to Walmart wanting to be the  “largest provider of primary healthcare services in the nation,” and to “dramatically lower the cost of healthcare while maintaining or improving outcomes.”

She declined to say how many requests were distributed, to whom, or what types of companies they represent.

The only thing the company would say for certain is: “we are not building a national, integrated, low-cost primary care health care platform,” according to the statement from to John Agwunobi, senior vice president and president of Walmart U.S. Health & Wellness.