MED MOVES: Walmart CMO to Step Down; Had Role in Clinics

Departures at Walmart signal setbacks in plans for in-store clinics.

Walmart Health execs depart. Thomas Van Gilder, MD, JD, MPH, will step down from his role as Walmart’s first chief medical officer on May 15, the news outlet Insider first reported this week. MedCity News also reported that Roshan Parikh, DDS, the head of dentistry, has also left the company. The pair were involved in plans for Walmart Health, a vehicle for opening clinics within the stores that offered primary care, optometry services, dental care, and counseling. The pandemic upended Walmart’s plans, and 22 clinics have opened thus far, fewer than the pace of 30 to 50 that were set to be open by 2021. Walmart has declined comment in news reports, which were based on memos released to health team employees this week.

UAB Health’s Ferniany to retire. After 13 years,Will Ferniany, PhD, will retire as chief executive officer of University of Alabama-Birmingham Health Systemat the end of 2021, according to an announcement made Thursday. Ferniany is also CEO of the new UAB/Ascension St. Vincent’s Alliance, overseeing a $5 billion, 11-hospital system. He served in an earlier stint at UAB from 1988 to 1992, as CEO of UAB Psychiatric Hospital and in strategic planning and market development of UAB Health. During his tenure as CEO, the health system has grown from five hospitals to 11, and revenue has more than doubled from $2.3 billion to $5.8 billion. He created an Office of Patient Experience and Engagement to measure, support and enable improvements across the organization, which led to steady annual improvements in patient satisfaction measures across UAB’s ambulatory clinics. In 2020, UAB Hospital was named a Consumer Loyalty Best in Class Hospital by NRC Health, placing the hospital in the national top 10 for patient experience and brand loyalty for the second consecutive year.