HealthPartners has announced it will be closing 30 of its retail pharmacies in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, resulting in the loss of 300 jobs.
The Bloomington-based health insurer – which also operates hospitals and clinics across Minnesota, and a few in Wisconsin – confirmed on Thursday it will be shutting down its retail pharmacy operations in early 2020.
The pharmacies located within its Park Nicollet, Central Minnesota, and Stillwater Medical Group clinics will all close on Jan. 20, while the HealthPartners retail clinic pharmacies follow on Apr. 1.
Its mail-order pharmacy operations will also be closing.
The insurer says it'll continue to operate its specialty, infusion and hospital pharmacies, as well as its health plan pharmacy management and medication therapy management services.
Of the 300 jobs that will be cut as a result of the closure, 100 are pharmacists.
Senior VP of Pharmacy & Business Development Scott Schnuckle said the decision was taken because the market has changed to favor "large-scale organizations."
"Our retail pharmacies have provided a convenient option for our patients for many years,” he said. "Consumer preferences and pharmacy economics have changed, however, to favor large-scale organizations able to support extended hours, drive-through pickup, and other conveniences we’re not able to offer. Like others preceding us in our market, we’ve made the difficult decision to exit our retail pharmacy operation."
"We will be supporting our colleagues through the transition during the next several months,” he added.
"We’ll also be working closely with our patients ahead of this transition to ensure they will continue to have convenient access to the prescription medications they need."
HealthPartners operates Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, and more than 50 primary care clinics and dozens of urgent care centers and dental clinics.
In an email to staff, HealthPartners CEO Andrea Walsh said that the company has suffered from similar challenges faced by other pharmacy providers, leading to other shutdowns such as that of Lunds & Byerlys' in-store pharmacies earlier this year.