Dollar General to Increase Health Care Products, Offerings in Rural Communities

Dollar General’s expansion into health care space will include an increased assortment of cough and cold, dental, nutritional, medical, health aids, and feminine hygiene products in many stores.

Dollar General Corporation has announced plans to expand health care products, services, and offerings in rural communities across the country in an effort to meet growing care needs, especially in areas without easy access to health care providers. This expansion will include an increased assortment of cough and cold, dental, nutritional, medical, health aids, and feminine hygiene products in many stores.1

“This effort marks the first major step in Dollar General’s strategic journey toward increasing access to health care offerings,” the company said in a press release.1

According to the press release, 75% of the US population lives within approximately 5 miles of a Dollar General store, creating unique access for rural communities and other underserved populations. This expansion is therefore supported by the existing infrastructure and supply chain.1

Despite having more than 17,400 stores across the country, lawmakers have criticized the chain for stocking very few healthy foods and for cutting out other retailers that could provide a wider array of groceries in rural communities, according to reporting by CNBC.2 To address this, Dollar General has added more fresh produce and meats, including produce in approximately 7% (1300) of its stores. According to CNBC, the chain may expand that to up to 10,000 stores.2

“At Dollar General, we are always looking for new ways to serve, and our customers have told us that they would like to see increased access to affordable health care products and services in their communities,” said Toss Vasos, CEO of Dollar General, in a press release. “Our goal is to build and enhance affordable health care offerings for our customers, especially in the rural communities we serve.”1

This expansion into medical care has also included COVID-19 offerings, such as testing provided at select locations through a partnership with the Virginia Department of Health. Furthermore, new and remodeled locations will offer more aisles for health products and coolers for food, with more than 1000 locations expected to open this year.2

To help guide their expansion into health care, the press release also announced the appointment of Albert Wu, MD, to the position of vice president and chief medical officer. Wu will help develop the company’s health care services by building relationships with health care product and service providers.1

Before this appointment, Wu worked for McKinsey & Company since 2016, where he helped create a total cost of care model for 250,000 rural health care patients and oversaw multiple hospital provider turnarounds.1

REFERENCE

1. Dollar General Announces Plans to Increase Access to Health Care Products & Services, Expanding Health Offerings in Rural Communities Across America. News release. BusinessWire. July 7, 2021. Accessed July 8, 2021. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210707005199/en/Dollar-General-Announces-Plans-to-Increase-Access-to-Health-Care-Products-Services-Expanding-Health-Offerings-in-Rural-Communities-Across-America

2. Rapko M. Dollar General hires chief medical officer as it looks to become a health-care destination in rural areas. CNBC. July 7, 2021. Accessed July 8, 2021. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/07/dollar-general-hires-chief-medical-officer-boosts-health-care-items.html