Wednesday, February 14, 2007

WSJ: Walk-in Retail Health Clinics

WSJ article on walk-in health clinics:

For people who aren't insured or have high-deductible policies, the retail health clinics -- run by companies such as MinuteClinic, Take Care Health Systems and RediClinic -- can offer significant savings. Many minor ailments are treated for $49 to $59, significantly less than at many doctors' offices.

MinuteClinic, the biggest chain, has 160 clinics and plans to open another 300 this year. Take Care Health, the next largest chain, has 36 clinics and plans to open another 250 this year.

One appeal of the clinics is that they post prices for services, such as treating bronchitis or giving a flu shot. Such information is rarely seen in physicians' offices or hospital emergency rooms, and consumer advocates have been pressing for more price transparency.

For many consumers, convenience is the main appeal of the clinics; for example, on a stop in for a strep test, a customer was diagnosed, given a prescription for an antibiotic and had it filled at the pharmacy -- all in 20 minutes.

See my article "
Deregulate Health Care, Bring Back House Calls."


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