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August 26, 2011 | last updated December 1, 2011 3:07 pm

EMHS to close five Walmart clinics

Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems will close five of the six health care clinics it has opened in Walmart stores since debuting the service in 2009.

This week, EMHS officials told Walmart it intends to close its convenient care clinics in Augusta, Bangor, Brewer, Palmyra and Presque Isle, according to a press release. A final closure date has not yet been determined. EMHS said "the volume of patients in rural Maine have made five of the six clinics financially unsustainable." The clinic in Waterville, which EMHS called "highly successful," will remain open. Employees of the clinics will fill open positions at EMHS, so no jobs will be lost, according to the release.

EMHS owns the clinics inside six Walmart supercenters in central, eastern and northern Maine, and operates them through subsidiaries Eastern Maine Medical Center, The Aroostook Medical Center, Inland Hospital and Sebasticook Valley Health. The clinics were designed to boost rural access to health care. The hospitals and medical centers will continue to operate their own walk-in clinics and some will expand their hours.

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