Walmart has announced the decision to shut down all 51 of its health centres across five states and its Walmart Health Virtual Care service in the US.

The company, which launched Walmart Health centres in 2019, announced the closure due to increased operational costs.

In a media statement, Walmart attributed its decision to “the challenging reimbursement environment and escalating operating costs leading to a lack of profitability that make the care business unsustainable for the company.”

While no specific dates for the closures have been provided, Walmart plans to share them as decisions are made.

In light of the closures, all associates working at the Walmart health centres will have the opportunity to transfer to any other Walmart or Sam’s Club location.

They will continue to be paid for 90 days, with the option to transfer or leave the company within that timeframe. After 90 days, associates who have not transferred or left will receive severance benefits.

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Furthermore, the provider partners and the company will continue to offer services to existing patients until the clinics are open. These providers, through their respective employers, will also be paid for 90 days, after which providers who are eligible will receive transition payments.

Despite the closure of the health centres, Walmart will continue to operate nearly 4,600 pharmacies and more than 3,000 Vision Centers across the country.

Walmart will also continue to offer immunisations, testing and treatment services, access to specialty pharmacy medication and care, medication therapy management, and a variety of health screenings.

It has recently expanded its optical business, with over 200 Vision Centers now operating the company’s ownership.

The company also introduced various optical tools, including virtual try-on capabilities, to simplify the process of purchasing glasses.