Rx: The Cure of Market-Based Health Care Reform, Like Retail Clinics Partnering With Hospitals
From the Minneapolis-St. Paul StarTribune:
In a marriage of giants, Allina Hospitals and Clinics is teaming up with MinuteClinic to coordinate care for patients and expand medical services down the road. Allina is the biggest hospital and clinic group in the Twin Cities, with 11 hospitals and 90 clinics. MinuteClinic, the pioneer of bare-bones retail kiosks staffed by nurse practitioners, has 24 locations in the Twin Cities and 500 nationwide. This is the second such partnership for MinuteClinic, coming after a similar deal with the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.
"By coordinating care between the retail clinic setting and our clinics and hospitals, patients can feel confident that they will be well taken care of, whether they have a minor illness or something more serious," Kenneth Paulus, Allina's chief executive, said in a statement.
Allina doctors will offer medical oversight to MinuteClinic nurse practitioners in Minnesota, and the two organizations will share electronic medical records. An Allina patient who visits a MinuteClinic, for example, will get that visit recorded in her Allina record.
The Allina/MinuteClinic deal comes at a time of uncertainty in health care. Health care legislation in Congress contemplates ways to both cut payments and shift from paying for procedures to paying for outcomes. That would pressure medical providers to be more efficient -- for example, patients with less serious conditions may be seen by nurse practitioners instead of doctors, at lower cost. That is already happening in some areas, with retail clinics the most obvious example.