Antidote to Socialized Medicine: Walgreens Doubles the Number of Retail Health Care Clinics
Although the economic downturn slowed growth this summer, retailers and hospital systems continue to open retail clinics. The number of U.S. clinics jumped to 1,135 as of Monday compared with 1,104 as of Nov. 1, according to Merchant Medicine.
Walgreens had 293 in-store clinics as of the beginning of this week, up from 172 in mid-June. The company projects having 400 clinics nationally by Aug. 31 (see chart above).
Walgreens said retail clinics help address the problem of a decreasing number of doctors-in-training in the primary medical-care field, which could spur a shortage of medical professionals.
"Demand for primary-care health services has outstripped supply, and the problem is going to get worse as fewer medical school students choose primary care," Walgreens spokesman Michael Polzin said.
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 number of uninsured Americans at more than 45 million.