Thursday, August 13, 2009

Retail Clinic Updates: Check Waiting Times Online, and Docs Want Some of the Growing Business

1. At Family Quick Care clinics operating in Illinois (either next to a Wal-Mart or inside Meijer's Stores), you can now check wait times online (currently no wait at 2 of the 3 clinics listed).

2.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE -- A suburban Chicago doctors group is resuscitating the physician-staffed model of retail medicine. Physicians Prompt Care Centers said it will open a clinic this month inside the Jewel-Osco in the Chicago suburb of Orland Park that will be staffed by physicians.

It's the first retail health clinic in the Chicago area for Jewel-Osco parent Supervalu Inc., which has 14 retail clinics in its stores elsewhere in the country. Though the number of retail health clinics has grown to more than 1,100 nationally, most are staffed by nurse practitioners, who are paid less than doctors. Just a half-dozen clinics are staffed by physicians.

MP: About the second story, the docs probably figure that "if you can't beat them (retail health clinics), join them." With more than a thousand retail clinics operating nationally, think of all of the millions (billions?) of dollars of revenue and profits being diverted away from traditional physician-staffed offices and clinics, to nurse practitioner-staffed retail heath care clinics.

Hey, maybe competitive market forces will solve the problem of rising health care costs quicker, and more effectively, than any grandiose form of government-run Obamacare?

Originally posted at Carpe Diem.

6 Comments:

At 8/13/2009 5:01 PM, Blogger Steve said...

MP wrote "Hey, maybe competitive market forces will solve the problem of rising health care costs quicker, and more effectively, than any grandiose form of government-run Obamacare?"

Perhaps. So what's taking so long?

Why would your point be applicable from now forward, but not over the last 30 years?

Why haven't competitive market forces worked YET?

 
At 8/13/2009 6:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stop calling it Obamacare. You're a respected economist, not a damn politician.

 
At 8/13/2009 8:03 PM, Blogger Mark said...

One month in, at a staff meeting one of the physicians will say, "let's grow this puppy by taking insurance payments." Six months in, they will have raised their fees to cover the increased paperwork. One year in, it will look like every other doctor's office.

We need off this treadmill.

 
At 8/14/2009 12:04 AM, Blogger OA said...

Geez, what's wrong with calling it Obamacare? He's the one advocating for it, whatever it is. Using the full name would be the goblygook like the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act" except there is no such name now.

I think the reason this has not worked before is doctors always put a stop to them. They always found a way to stop clinics explicitly or by scaring people away from them with claims of improper training, substandard care, etc.

But now that premium growth has been exponential for a few years, these make a lot of sense. There's real demand now.

I have a high deductible plan so unless I have something major, I would love a walk-in clinic nearby. Their prices are around $39 for most minor things. I've actually used walk-in clinics overseas for quick check ups. Love the minimal forms and just paying cash.

 
At 8/14/2009 6:04 AM, Blogger brodero said...

I want to know what happens when
Medicare goes bankrupt in 2017...

 
At 8/14/2009 7:36 AM, Blogger christinemm said...

My dermatologist offers numerous cosmetic procedures in the office not covered by insurance. It is the only doctor I have (in wealthy Connecticut) with real art on the walls.

The last time I was there I noted they open early in the morning (I think it was 7am) and work late at night (to 8pm some nights). They are also open Saturdays (almost non-existant in CT for private practices that are not urgent care walk in centers). They are also open every day from Monday-Friday (not all doctors work 5 days a week in this area either).

My point is that when there is money to be made the doctors suddenly made accommodations. In this case obviously the doctor is targeting working people. We are a commuter area to NYC and it is obvious they are trying to be accessible to patients.

The sad thing is the same is not done by Internists, cardiologists and other doctors providing care for patients in pain and with serious medical conditions.

If the money is there, doctors will work longer hours and be more open to things such as patient convenience, increasing accessibility, etc.

To be frank (I used to work for doctors) there is no reason that the current health care system could not expand, to working 5 day a week not 4, starting earlier and being open later, to accommodate patients, especially working people. It is just that the doctors with traditional office hours in the daytime don't want to work all those hours, or atypical hours, they are spoiled.

I saw a sign in a pediatrician's office that said they will not treat a child that comes in with a Nanny, they want only the parent. However the short hours of the pediatricians around here don't take into account that the parents are sometimes both working the same hours as the doctors. Sadly employers can be very inflexible even with something like caring for a sick kid.

With H1N1 this winter this situation will get worse. The government is already debating NOT closing schools so as to not inconvenience parents. The fact that H1N1 is contagious 2 days before the first symptom appears means that asymptomatic children in school will be infecting others, so large break out's will invariably happen.

 

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