Humana is joining forces with Walgreens to launch two senior-focused primary care clinics within the pharmacy chain’s stores in Kansas City, Mo.

The clinics, which the companies said they might open in other markets, represent an additional effort by the Louisville-based insurer to divert patients from hospitals, where costs usually exceed those in clinics, and to gain better control over escalating costs related to chronic conditions.

While the clinics will help patients with acute and immediate health problems, Humana said that its representatives in the drugstores also will provide customers with information about diabetes and about where to find support groups and senior fitness classes.

Bruce Broussard

Insurance executives including Humana CEO Bruce Broussard have said that customers with chronic disease account for the vast majority of insurers’ costs and that identifying and addressing the conditions early helps both patients and the insurers’ profitability.

“Most of our members have severe chronic conditions and the more we can engage with them, keep them out of the hospital systems, the institutions, staying at home and preventing the disease from progressing, the more impact that we have on both them … from a health point of view, cost point of view and societal point of view,” Broussard said in January, when Humana announced plans to acquire a stake in Kindred Healthcare.

Humana told Insider this week that it chose Kansas City for the new clinics in part because it has a large base of customers there and because the community had previously been selected by the insurer as part of its Bold Goal, which aims to improve customers’ health by 20 percent by 2020. The main challenges for the Kansas City area that Humana has identified: diabetes, obesity and chronic health.

The clinics will be operated by Humana subsidiary Partners in Primary Care, which “has a strong presence in the Kansas City area, having opened four senior-focused clinics there over the past year,” Humana told Insider via email. Clinic customers do not have to be insured by Humana.

Stefano Pessina

In a news release, Humana said it has more than 65,000 Medicare Advantage and Medicare stand-alone prescription drug plan customers in the Kansas City area.

“This unique partnership supports Humana’s multifaceted approach to health care in this community and is a continuation of our senior-focused care strategy which is centered on integrating care through clinical programs that intersect health and lifestyle,” Broussard said in the release.

Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Stefano Pessina said the partnership expands the company’s efforts to deliver health care services closer to its customers.

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Boris Ladwig
Boris Ladwig is a reporter with more than 20 years of experience and has won awards from multiple journalism organizations in Indiana and Kentucky for feature series, news, First Amendment/community affairs, nondeadline news, criminal justice, business and investigative reporting. As part of The (Columbus, Indiana) Republic’s staff, he also won the Kent Cooper award, the top honor given by the Associated Press Managing Editors for the best overall news writing in the state. A graduate of Indiana State University, he is a soccer aficionado (Borussia Dortmund and 1. FC Köln), singer and travel enthusiast who has visited countries on five continents. He speaks fluent German, rudimentary French and bits of Spanish, Italian, Khmer and Mandarin.