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Northwest Health System to Reopen Clinics at Walmart stores

CareExpress sites bring affordable, accessible care to Washington and Benton Counties
Ten new jobs added to Northwest Health System family

BENTONVILLE, AR (Feb. 19, 2009) — Northwest Health System and Walmart today announced that Northwest Health System will reopen clinics (formerly RediClinic sites) in two northwest Arkansas Walmart stores. The CareExpress clinic in the south Rogers Walmart supercenter will open Monday, February 23 at 8 a.m., and the Fayetteville Walmart supercenter clinic will open in the coming weeks.

The walk-in clinics, located inside the Walmart supercenters at 3919 North Mall Ave. in Fayetteville and 4208 Pleasant Crossing Blvd. in Rogers, will provide fast, affordable access to basic healthcare services such as check-ups, immunizations, screenings and minor injuries. The walk-in health clinics are the first to be owned and operated by Northwest Health System in a Walmart store. The Rogers clinic will be open for walk-in service from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. No appointment is necessary, and patients may pay cash or file claims with participating health plans.

“By joining with Walmart to operate CareExpress, Northwest Health System is simply bringing one of the things we do best to an innovative setting, which we believe will help meet the unique healthcare needs of our community,” said Doug Arnold, CEO of Northwest Health System. “Providing ready access to excellent primary care services is very important for the health of our community, and it is something we do particularly well. These new access points are staffed with licensed healthcare providers, even on nights and weekends, so families can receive quality care without a long wait. It also helps ease the burden on our Emergency Departments, which aren’t really the most convenient, most appropriate or most cost-effective place – for patients or health professionals – to treat everyday illnesses like sore throats. We appreciate Walmart’s commitment to this concept and look forward to helping them serve their customers and the community at large through this unique healthcare venue.”

For busy area residents who are seeking affordable, accessible healthcare, especially during evening hours or on weekends, walk-in clinics play a key role in the healthcare system. These walk-in clinics can help keep people out of overcrowded emergency rooms. National statistics* collected by Walmart at other such clinics indicate that 10 percent to 15 percent of clinic customers surveyed said they would have used an emergency room had a Walmart-based clinic not been available, while another 5 percent to 10 percent would have gone without treatment entirely, potentially leading to more serious complications down the road.

Northwest Health System, which operates three hospitals, 22 primary care and specialty clinics, two outpatient surgery centers, a home health agency and a large healthcare provider network throughout Northwest Arkansas, is the region’s largest healthcare organization and the area’s only truly integrated, multi-hospital health system. Collectively, Northwest Health System’s various entities serve more than 300,000 people per year.

“We are constantly looking for ways to add value for our customers and, with these clinics, we hope to provide customers throughout Northwest Arkansas with affordable, accessible and convenient healthcare,” said Alicia Ledlie, Walmart’s senior director of health business development. “And because Northwest Health System is a well-known and respected healthcare provider in the community, our customers will benefit from the convenience of prompt, professional care from an organization that they know and trust.”

In addition to enhancing the “one-stop shopping” experience for customers, CareExpress offers prompt access to affordably priced acute and preventive care for common health ailments that are treatable without need for urgent or emergency care, including sore throats, sinus infections, upper-respiratory infections, earaches, bladder infections, insect bites and stings, cholesterol screening, blood-sugar testing, vaccinations, drug screening and routine physicals. The sites are staffed by advanced nurse practitioners who work under the oversight of Northwest Health System physicians. Martin A. Hannon, M.D., a Family Medicine physician who practices at Northwest Family Medicine – Tuscany Square (just north across Pleasant Grove Road) will provide medical oversight for the Pleasant Grove CareExpress. John D. Gaston, M.D., a Family Medicine physician who practices at Northwest Family Care – Fayetteville (3715 N. Business Dr. Suite 104, Fayetteville, AR 72703) will provide medical oversight for the Fayetteville CareExpress.

* Survey results based on an exit survey of 14,479 patients following visits to a clinic in Walmart between January 2006 and November 2006. Surveys were conducted by the clinic operators.

About Northwest Health System
Northwest Health System, with approximately 2,000 employees, is the largest healthcare organization in Northwest Arkansas. Northwest Health System has been serving the people of Northwest Arkansas since 1942. Northwest Health System includes:

  • Northwest Medical Center – Bentonville (128 beds).
  • Northwest Medical Center – Springdale (222 beds).
  • Willow Creek Women’s Hospital (64 beds, including the area’s only Level III C Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). Willow Creek is the state of Arkansas’ busiest birthing center.
  • A network of 22 primary care and specialist clinics (staffed by 66 employed physicians and physician extenders in eight specialties). Our primary care network is Northwest Arkansas’ largest.
  • Northwest Arkansas Home Health.
  • Northwest Ambulatory Surgery Center – Bentonville.
  • Northwest Ambulatory Surgery Center – Springdale.
  • PremierCare Northwest PPO (a healthcare provider network).

To learn more about Northwest Health System, visit www.northwesthealth.com.

About Walmart
Walmart operates Walmart discount stores, supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Sam’s Club locations in the United States. The Company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom and, through a joint venture, in India. The Company's common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WMT. More information about Walmart can be found by visiting www.walmartstores.com. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com and www.samsclub.com.

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