Walmart Goes Viral After Announcing Plans to Shut Down Health Services

Walmart logo is seen on the shop.

Walmart is shutting down its health clinics along with its telehealth services, and customers aren't sugarcoating their reactions to the news.

The nationwide chain of department stores revealed its plans to close 51 health clinics across the five states it operates–Arkansas, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois and Missouri–in addition to its virtual health services in a press release on Tuesday, after previously suggesting it would set out to build over 75 locations by the end of this year.

The retail giant launched Walmart Health and Walmart Health Virtual Care in 2019 after years of planning. The company has not disclosed how much revenue its health services generated over its five-year-long operation, but it said the "decision to close all 51 health centers across five states and shut down the virtual care offering was not easy."

Walmart explained the decision in its April 30 statement: "We understand this change affects lives – the patients who receive care, the associates and providers who deliver care and the communities who supported us along the way. This is a difficult decision, and like others, the challenging reimbursement environment and escalating operating costs create a lack of profitability that make the care business unsustainable for us at this time."

"While we will no longer operate health centers, we will take what we learned as we provide trusted health and wellness services across the country through our nearly 4,600 Pharmacies and more than 3,000 Vision Centers. For 40 years, we have provided these high quality, accessible and affordable points of care that are integral to their respective communities," it continued, stating Walmart pharmacies and optical centers are continuing to grow.

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The company also said it is arranging to transfer employees to other locations or offer severance to those unable to commute elsewhere.

Within minutes of the closure announcement, Walmart customers flooded social media with blunt messages and to-the-point assumptions.

Some didn't seem surprised while still hoping for the success of Walmart's pharmacies and optical operations.

"As long as the vision center open, we cooking," one X (formerly Twitter) user joked.

"Walmart finds out the hard way that Primary Care is difficult," a second sarcastically quipped.

Others were deeply concerned about what the closures could mean for those who relied on the clinics or virtual healthcare services and the reasons Walmart cited for the shutdown.

"Wow. With some areas not having hospitals, they go to places like this," one worried customer wrote.

"Healthcare is becoming more inaccessible every day," a second added.

But those located outside of the states where Walmart health clinics operate were only perplexed by the news.

"People were going to Walmart for healthcare?" one questioned.

Someone else simply asked, "Walmart has healthcare clinics?"

"Walmart is closing its health centres," another wrote. "Every American is confused like these cats," they added alongside a gif of cats acting astounded.

"I was today years old when I found out Walmart has health care clinics," a different user admitted.

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