Saturday, December 29, 2007

Target Clinics Open in Minnesota and Maryland

I have posted previously on low-cost, consumer-friendly, market-driven, walk-in retail health care clinics in retail stores like Walgreens, CVS and Wal-Mart, see here, here, here and here. Now Target has joined the market for retail clinics by opening Target Clinics in Minnesota (18 locations) and Maryland (5 locations).

Target Clinic's medical professionals can help test and treat guests 18 months and older for many common illnesses and injuries. Cash fees for most services listed below range from $49-$69.

Minor Illnesses: Strep Throat, Earache, Cold, Flu, Sinus Infection, Conjunctivitis/Pink Eye, Cough or Bronchitis, Allergies, Mono, Bladder Infection, Splinter Removal

Minor Injuries: Minor Burn, Bruise, Insect Bite or Sting, Stitch Removal, Wound Check

Skin Treatments: Rash, Athlete's Foot, Cold Sore, Skin Infection, Impetigo, Ringworm, Poison Ivy or Poison Oak, Shingles, Eczema, Acne

Other Services: Flu Vaccine, Pregnancy Test (must be 18+), Rapid Influenza Test, Blood Pressure Check, Tetanus and Tdap Vaccine, Cholesterol Screening, Camp and Sports Physicals

Bottom Line: Perhaps high-cost, bureaucratic, inefficient, socialized medicine isn't the answer to reforming our health care system. Instead, perhaps we need more efficient, low-cost, market-driven, and consumer-friendly healthcare like Target Clinics to reform our health care system.

Milton Friedman once said something to the effect that forcing everybody to see a physician as the medical gatekeeper for even minor, routine health concerns was like forcing everybody to drive a Cadillac. The use of nurse practitioners and physician assistants at Target Clinics is a welcome change, and allows us to get health care at a Chevy standard when we don't want, or can't afford, the Cadillac standard.

4 Comments:

At 12/30/2007 10:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark Perry said...

"Bottom Line: Perhaps we don't need more high-cost, bureaucratic, inefficient, socialized medicine"

We don't have socialized medicine in this country so how could we have more of it?

How would you propose that someone living paycheck to paycheck and spending only on very basic rent, food and transportation (to get to and from work) pay $49.00 to have a bladder infection diagnosed?

Before some genius chimes in and suggests that the person in question go back to school and get an education so they can get a job what if the person in question is over 65? What if the person in question is developmentally delayed (retarded) to the point that no amount of education would have any impact on their earning ability?

But lets pretend that this hypothetical person could go back to school and then get a better and higher paying job. Who would do the job that they were doing in the first place and how would that replacement pay for medical expenses?

 
At 12/30/2007 11:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reality check. How many developmentally handicapped people do you know who are over 65 and working? It is far more likely that the person you describe would have a disability pension and would live with a relative.

Your point is that some patients are too poor to afford health care no matter how low the cost. The model of cost has to be compared to a hospital where an aspirin can cost anywhere from $2.00 to $17.00.

Do health clinics offer a lower cost model for basic primary care? Is it better for a patient to take a sick child to a hospital emergency dept. or go to a health clinic?

By the time, you have waited 6-8 hours at a hospital emergency dept. and paid for parking ($2.00 per 1/2 hr at my local hospital), do you think that you would be better or worse off if you could get a basic service like stitches to close a cut or treatment for a yeast infection dealt at a health clinic in 20-30 minutes?

With regard to "we don't have socialized medicine", you are right but that is the model being proposed by the Democrats as a cure all.

In Canada, we have socialized medicine and access to care has been compromised by politicians who have cut funding for diagnostic imagining equipment, nursing and medical school enrollment, long term care, salaries, hospital bed funding etc. for decades.

We now have a shortage of many specialities, a shortage of primary care physicians, a shortage of nurses, a shortage of diagnostic equipment, 2 year wait times for hip and knee replacement surgery, patients kept waiting for cancer treatment beyond medically safe time limits. Fraser Institute tracks these problems each year.

Waiting for an MRI until a rotator cuff tear becomes inoperable resulting in permanent disability does not really meet the needs of the patient for access to adequate care. In Canada, we have fewer MRIs per capita than South Korea. Socialized care is not a panacea for delivering accessible, affordable, high quality care.

In the UK, services are rationed so new medications are not available or patients are left untreated (especially seniors). In the UK, they have developed bibliotherapy for the treatment of depression, a doctor rights you a prescription for a book rather than referring you to counselling or prescribing anti-depressant medication. The assumption is that depression is a normal mood rather than a mood disorder requiring treatment.

Developing lower cost delivery systems does help to try to alleviate the strains on the system and improve patient outcomes. Patients suffering from diseases such as diabetes or taking medications requiring monitoring like warfarin can significantly benefit from improved monitoring.

 
At 12/30/2007 12:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cursory health care in walk in clinics is better than none, and the "median" American is being forced into this position - housing, transportation, fuel - you can't afford private insurance if you've got kids and one income, so you cut corners everywhere. Welcome to the race to the bottom. I'm SO happy for the rising middle class in China, yeah, sure.

 
At 12/30/2007 12:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ADDENDUM - GEE WHIZ, I can afford 'broken down pinto' health care access for my child.
More gruel, please sir.

Our political chattering class's terminology is deceptive. We should be discussing socialized health insurance, not socialized medicine.
America has great health providers. It is the insurance system which sucks.

 

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