Dollar General came for your grocery dollars. Now it wants a slice of your health care spending, too.

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      eridani
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      https://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/dollar-general-came-your-grocery-dollars-now-it-wants-slice-n1277794

      The company appointed its first chief medical officer, Albert Wu, in July to lead its entrance into the rural health care business. Wu has been tasked with overseeing relationships with current and prospective health care product and service providers “to build a comprehensive network of affordable services for DG customers,” according to a company release in July.

      Dollar General had already been taking steps to leverage its store fleet for health care. Earlier this year, it was in discussions with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to create a formal partnership as a Covid vaccine clinic. Recently, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services partnered with Dollar General to host a month-long community vaccine clinic in stores in nine counties. Stores in South Carolina and Indiana have also held vaccine clinics. In June, the Virginia Department of Health partnered with Dollar General to hold free Covid testing.

      “I don’t want to get in front of our skis, but it could be a really big deal not only for our top line and bottom line at Dollar General,” said Vasos on Thursday. “But even more so, making that box even more relevant to those consumers in rural America that have to drive now 30, 40 minutes for an eye exam as an example, or even to see a doctor.”

      About 60 million people, or roughly one in five Americans, live in rural areas and depend on local hospitals for care. But last year, a record 20 rural hospitals closed under the financial pressures of the pandemic, years of low patient volume and heavy reliance on government-funded insurance payers, according to the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, which has been tracking rural hospital closures since January 2005. Since then, the center has reported 181 hospitals in rural communities have closed their doors. Even before the pandemic, nearly every state had at least one rural hospital at immediate risk of closure, according to a report from the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform.

       

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