HealthPartners is closing 30 retail pharmacies as well as its mail-order pharmacy operations next year due to economic pressures that officials said give an advantage to larger operators in the industry.
About 300 jobs will be eliminated with the closings, including positions for about 100 pharmacists.
HealthPartners, which is a nonprofit health insurer that also runs clinics and hospitals in Minnesota and Wisconsin, said it will work with patients before the closures to make sure they continue to have access to needed medications.
“Consumer preferences and pharmacy economics have changed … to favor large-scale organizations able to support extended hours, drive-through pickup and other conveniences that we’re not able to offer,” said Scott Schnuckle, the senior vice president for pharmacy business at HealthPartners, in a statement Wednesday. “Like others preceding us in our market, we’ve made the difficult decision to exit our retail pharmacy operation.”
The closure is an abrupt departure from the general story of growth at HealthPartners, which operates Regions Hospital in St. Paul and Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park. Last year, HealthPartners hit the $7 billion mark in annual revenue as the health system added its seventh hospital.
Beyond hospitals, HealthPartners runs 55 primary-care clinics, 22 urgent-care centers and 24 dental clinics.
Retail pharmacies in central Minnesota and those connected to the Park Nicollet and Stillwater Medical Group practices — both of which are part of HealthPartners — will close Jan. 20. Retail clinic pharmacy locations will close April 1.
HealthPartners will continue to operate its specialty, infusion and hospital pharmacies, as well as health plan pharmacy management and medication therapy management services. Insurance policies sold by HealthPartners will “continue to offer members a broad range of convenient pharmacy options within its network,” the health system said in a statement.
“Our retail pharmacies have provided a convenient option for our patients for many years,” Schnuckle said in a statement.