Bringing health care to the office

The question is will the brand name on the door give workers confidence and protection, or are these companies just asking for trouble?

Walgreens signThere's a 19th century idea which is making a comeback.

Getting health care at work.

Back in the day, of course, a factory clinic was designed to get workers back on the job, and most workers couldn't afford better.

Today's clinics have a similar mission, keeping costs down and keeping people working. But there is a difference. Someone else's brand name is at risk.

That someone else in this case is Walgreens, which has created a new health and wellness division by buying two existing worksite health providers, the parent of CHD Meridian Health Care and Whole Health Management.

The real genesis of this may have been Walgreens own Take Care centers, located within stores. The centers are staffed by nurses and do basic health care.

Expect them all to take the company's brand, as Walgreens brags in its press release it will have "more than 500 worksite and retail health centers in 40 states" after the acquisitions. Plus, the company is coming out with its own clothing line.

Somewhere along the way you might think they'd update that mortar and pestle logo, maybe using a version of the "W" to be found on its clothing. Or a nurse's hat.

Its main rivals, like CVS and Wal-Mart, are going through similar evolutions, expanding into health care delivery from pharmacy, where margins are notoriously tight.

The question is will the brand name on the door give workers confidence and protection, or are these companies just asking for trouble?