Advocate to acquire 56 Walgreens clinics

  • The health care clinics inside 56 Walgreens pharmacies in Chicago and the suburban region will be owned and operated by Advocate Health Care by May.

    The health care clinics inside 56 Walgreens pharmacies in Chicago and the suburban region will be owned and operated by Advocate Health Care by May. COURTESY OF WALGREENS

  • Pat Carroll

    Pat Carroll

  • Lee Sacks

    Lee Sacks

 
 
Updated 1/11/2016 6:09 AM

A unit of Downers Grove-based Advocate Health Care is expected to announce today that it has agreed to acquire 56 area Healthcare Clinics from Deerfield-based Walgreens.

Advocate Medical Group will operate the clinics in Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties and will change the name of the clinics to Advocate Clinic at Walgreens starting in May.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Terms of the deal were not disclosed and 233 Walgreens employees could reapply for their jobs with Advocate, both organizations said.

The companies have been working to prepare for the transition that addresses changes in the health care industry.

"We have a two-pronged strategy and it involves expanding value in the retail model and we've already made a significant investment in a new electronic health care records system called Epic. And at the same time, the health care industry is changing and we want to meet those changes," said Pat Carroll, Walgreens chief medical officer.

This is the second such deal that Walgreens has made for divesting some clinics. In a deal announced last less than six months ago, about 25 Walgreens clinics in Washington and Oregon were sold to Seattle-based Providence Health & Services, which will complete its transition in February.

Walgreens said it will continue to own and operate about 350 of its remaining clinics nationwide. It has no immediate plans to sell them or partner with anyone else, Carroll said.

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The newly christened Advocate Clinic at Walgreens will continue to operate inside the Walgreens stores and will be staffed with board-certified nurse practitioners. They will be employed, trained and supervised by Advocate Medical Group.

Advocate, the state's largest health care system, intends to hire the Walgreens staff currently working in the clinics. If some Walgreens employees decide not to transition to Advocate, then the clinics could use any of its 240 nurse practitioners when needed, said Lee Sacks, Advocate chief medical officer and executive vice president.

While Advocate Medical Group is a nonprofit, it will run the retail clinics as for-profits, with revenue used to upgrade its facilities, technology and equipment to better help patients, Sacks said.

The clinics will run similarly to how they do now. Consumers will continue to receive treatment and help for common illnesses and injuries at the clinics. Walk-ins and same day appointments also will continue, Sacks said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Our goal remains the same, to improve outcomes for patients, improve the patient experience, and lower the overall costs of health care," Sacks said.

All Walgreens clinics recently installed an electronic patient record system called Epic. The new Advocate clinics will add their own electronic system in addition to Epic. That means an Advocate hospital patient also could have their records available at any local clinic inside a Walgreens store, Sacks said.

Advocate and the Walgreens pharmacy already had a working relationship. Walgreens operates its own on-site pharmacies at Advocate Lutheran General in Park Ridge, Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn and Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin. Walgreens has plans to add three more such pharmacies soon at Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, Advocate Good Samaritan in Downers Grove and Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville.

"The health care industry is changing rapidly and we want to use the clinics to provide an alternative for patients," Sacks said.

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