Inside Walgreens' physician acquisition strategy 

Walgreens' VillageMD is a huge contender in the race to acquire physicians.

VillageMD operates 680 clinics majority-owned by Walgreens Boots Alliance, including 200 clinics co-located with Walgreens and 170 third-party clinics at its stores.

In January 2023, it acquired the physician group Summit Health-CityMD and its roughly 400 primary care and urgent care clinics for $8.9 billion. The purchase gave VillageMD nearly 700 practices across the county and an additional 2,800 providers.

Healthcare leaders and analysts told Becker's in January that the deal presents big opportunities for health systems to grow. Walgreens said Summit Health contributed to a 95% sales increase for its healthcare segment compared to the previous year, according to a Jan. 4 quarterly earnings report.

Additionally, in March, VillageMD acquired a 30-location physician group, Rocky Hill, Conn.-based Starling Physicians, one of the state's largest physician groups. 

VillageMD is still growing despite announcing plans to exit the Illinois, Indiana and Florida markets this year. It has six clinics in Illinois, which are slated to close by April 19; 40 in Florida, which are slated to close by March 15; and 12 in Indiana, which closed earlier this year.

The moves are a piece of Walgreens' plan to cut at least $1 billion in costs. In total, it plans to pull VillageMD from five markets and close around 60 clinics in 2024. 

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