Retail Health Clinics:Not What the Doctors Ordered
There are nearly 1,000 retail medical clinics across the country, typically staffed by advanced-degree nurses known as practitioners. Most clinics are open seven days a week, with no appointment needed.
The model has been greeted by health insurers, employers and consumer groups as a way to address the national problem of accessing medical care, particularly with the rising number of uninsured Americans. "People are looking for convenience and access, and the problem is most docs don't have weekend and evening hours and these fill that gap," said the president of the Midwest Business Group on Health.
But the model has not received such a warm welcome from physician groups around the country, like the politically powerful Illinois Medical Society, which pressured lawmakers in Illinois to introduce a bill to increase regulation of the facilities by requiring permits, curbing their advertising plans, and (surprise, surprise) requiring more physician involvement.
F0rtunately for consumers, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reviewed the pending legislation and issued a rebuke to the Illinois Medical Society and its proposed bill, criticizing some of bill's provisions as being anti-competitive and harmful to consumers. The bill did not emerge from an Illinois House committee, and legislators say the FTC letter could thwart the legislation.
Read more here in today's Chicago Tribune.