Kroger to open healthcare clinic at Oxford location


Blake Boyd

The Oxford Kroger store will soon have a Little Clinic, according to the company.

By Blake Boyd

The Little Clinic will come to Oxford’s Kroger next month. The tentative date to open is Sept. 4, pending construction, which usually starts a week in advance of the opening date. 

According to the company website, Kroger Little Clinic locations are staffed by board-certified nurse practitioners and physician assistants. The clinic strives to provide easy and convenient healthcare to communities. 

Meggen Brown, chief nursing officer of Kroger Health/The Little Clinic, said the plan to put a Little Clinic location in the Oxford Kroger has been in place for more than a year. “Plans were made before the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the U.S., when COVID-19 changed the medical landscape,” Brown said. Kroger reevaluated its desired locations and decided to move forward with the Oxford location. 

“We look at shopping data to see children and family sizes,” Brown said, “Oxford is starting to become a very robust and growing area and there was a need for a convenient care center because of that.”

“Locations collaborate with existing local health resources rather than looking to compete against them. We look as an adjunct to (the student health center and local primary care providers), where we can get people in conveniently and at a low cost,” Brown said.

The Little Clinic is open 363 days a year, only closing on Christmas and Thanksgiving. It operates from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30  p.m. on weekdays, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. 

“This availability helps patients who might otherwise be competing for an appointment elsewhere with limited hours or limited flexible availability,” Brown said, “The Little Clinic also offers remote care over telehealth.”

Little Clinic locations have ventilation and air filtration systems separate from the Kroger grocery section to prevent airborne illnesses being spread to shoppers, Brown said. Sick patients are encouraged to leave the store and are asked to pick up any prescriptions ordered to Kroger Pharmacy through its drive-thru. According to Brown, if there is concern that a patient could be positive for COVID-19, the patient would be escorted outside of the store to their vehicle after the appointment.

Little Clinic locations offer car-side testing for COVID-19. The testing is done by appointment and patients remain in their vehicles during the test. A practitioner in protective gear meets the patient at a designated parking spot where the patients complete their test using a self-swab. Appointments for a COVID-19 test at a Little Clinic location can be made online. Until the location in Oxford opens, the closest Little Clinic to Oxford is at the Kroger store at 1474 Main St. in Hamilton.

Dr. Robert Applebaum, Miami University professor and director of the Ohio long-term care research project, said there’s been a noticeable push by non-direct healthcare providers such as Kroger, Walgreens and CVS to start offering clinic services. “The idea of providing more access to people, in the healthcare system, is never a bad thing,” Applebaum said. “I’ll be interested to see how that model works for Kroger in a town like Oxford.”

“Our ultimate goal in serving the Oxford community is to help people live healthier lives and to be that extension of care that is needed in the area as it is quickly growing,” Brown said.

“We’re really excited to come into a college town and in an area where we can help individuals get quick, affordable access to care.”