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Kroger, Better Health Launch Primary Care Option for Seniors

Analysis  |  By Eric Wicklund  
   December 21, 2023

The supermarket chain is redesigning its in-store health clinics to focus on seniors in Medicare plans, who often face challenges accessing primary care and are looking for better services.

A new partnership aims to give seniors another option for primary care: The supermarket.

Kroger Health, the healthcare arm of the Cincinnati-based retailer with more than 2,700 grocery stores in 35 states and the District of Columbia, is joining forces with the Better Health Group to focus its 225 Little Clinic in-store walk-in clinics on primary care services for seniors on Medicare, including Medicare Advantage plans.

Kroger joins a growing list of disruptors from other industries entering the healthcare market with consumer-focused primary and specialty care services. Companies like Amazon, Walmart, Publix, Google, and national pharmacy chains like Walgreens, CVS Health, and Rite Aid are all looking to replicate the success of the retail experience in healthcare for people who face barriers to accessing care or are more comfortable going to a store than a hospital or doctor’s office.

[See also: ATA Urges Clinicians to Take Charge, Own Virtual Care Innovation.]

Some within the healthcare industry have called this the battle for primary care, with health systems and medical practices looking to keep their patients and attract new ones in the face of competition from outside organizations. According to a Bain & Company study issued in 2030, these disruptors could capture 30% of the primary care market within six years.

“As the industry continues to shift toward value-based reimbursement, there has been an increase of nontraditional players and models in primary care,” Erin Ney, MD, an associate partner at Bain & Company, said in a press release accompanying the report. “As we look ahead, rising costs, physician shortages, consumerism and digital disruption will continue putting pressure on traditional healthcare models, paving the way for additional growth of models that promote more efficient care, improved outcomes and reduced total cost.”

Health system executives have been urged to improve the patient experience, including adopting virtual care and digital health tools, and embrace retail strategies that focus on convenience and reliability.

With organizations like Kroger, Amazon, and Walmart offering alternatives to the doctor’s office or hospital, experts say health systems need to identify and focus on what they can offer that others can’t—which in many cases is the connection to a respected hospital or medical group. Critics, meanwhile, say cost, complexity, and challenges to access are turning consumers away from healthcare and opening the door for the disruptors.

[See also: Assessing the Biggest Disruptors in Healthcare.]

The Better Health Group, which launched in 2016 at Physician Partners, operates more than 160 VIPcare clinics focused on senior services and partners with more than 1,200 providers. Officials at both Kroger Health and Better Health say the partnership will advance value-based care for a population desperately in need of focused services and better access to care.

The collaboration will begin at selected Kroger supermarkets in the Atlanta area before branching out in 2024 to other stores.

Eric Wicklund is the associate content manager and senior editor for Innovation, Technology, and Pharma for HealthLeaders.


The healthcare industry is facing competition from non-traditional sources, including retail giants and supermarket and pharmacy chains, who are creating in-store clinics designed to offer convenient and easy care.

Health systems and medical practices need to identify and focus on the value they provide to patients that can’t be found in a retail health clinic.

Kroger’s partnership with the Better Health Group will focus on providing primary care services in their Little Clinics for seniors on Medicare, many of which are struggling to find affordable and easy to access care.

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