Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Convenient Medical Clinics in Retail Settings Are Booming: It's a Wake-Up Call for Family Physicians


From USA Today:

Insured patients are increasingly turning to the convenience of drugstore clinics like Minute Clinic and other medical resources outside the traditional doctor's office setting when they can't schedule day-of appointments with their primary-care provider. Some without health insurance say they find them a faster, less pricey alternative to urgent care or emergency room visits. Almost half of Minute Clinic's clientele don't have a primary-care doctor of their own.

There are about 1,250 retail-based convenient care clinics in the USA. Two-thirds are in drug stores and one-third are in retail settings, such as Wal-Mart and Target, and supermarket chains. The growth has been significant: in 2006, there were only 175 such locations.

The proliferation of independent care clinics is also a wake-up call for family physicians, says internist David Winter. "We can get our act together and make it possible for our patients to get in sooner than six weeks." 

MP: Isn't competition great?  

9 Comments:

At 8/30/2011 12:46 PM, Blogger truth or consequences said...

so.....is this something NEW???and do you see a real doctor when you go to those??? or just a nursing practioner????

in Canada we've had "walk-in clinics" (staffed with doctors) for decades (no appointments needed or taken...you get to see a doctor but you don't get to pick him/her)

I used them when I moved to a new town and the existing doctors in family practice were not taking any new patients.(got my "own" doctor now) There's at least half a dozen of these clinics in this town of 40,000.

Pasted from a US medical website:

"Walk-in clinics developed in Canada not from the deliberate policy decisions of provincial ministries of health but in response to the entrepreneurial opportunities offered by the public funding of physician's services through fee for service payments. Having played no part in their creation, ministries of health have remained on the sidelines, taking no policy initiatives to either discourage or encourage their proliferation."

 
At 8/30/2011 12:49 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

6 weeks to see a primary?

what on earth is he talking about?

i had 3 GP's in san francisco over 15 years and never once was unable to get a same or next day appointment.

the best of them was a guy who did not take insurance. he was inexpensive, always available same day, and took all the time you wanted instead of jamming you through an 8 minute slot.

i am all for these clinics and think they will improve care availability and reduce cost, but that 6 weeks story he's telling is a whopper.

maybe he thinks he's in canada or the Uk?

 
At 8/30/2011 1:00 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Hey truth or consequences, just curious but how much hassle to doctors face from mal-practice suits in Canada?

 
At 8/30/2011 1:11 PM, Blogger truth or consequences said...

Juandos asks...juandos gets...;)

and from a reliable source...

http://www.loc.gov/law/help/medical-malpractice-liability/canada.php

one more thing to say about lawsuits in Canada....awards are set by judges...not jurys (you don't collect 10 million for dropping your coffe in your lap!)


BTW juanny....when are you going to change that picture

 
At 8/30/2011 1:16 PM, Blogger Mike said...

I was actually unpleasantly surprised by this concept when I was trying to convince a sick friend (uninsured) to see a doctor.

My doctor's office has one MD and 3 NP's. They have walk-in, open until 8pm , 7 days a week and their office visit is $68.
I went to the Minute Clinic on her behalf and they want $85.

Competition or confusion?

 
At 8/30/2011 1:26 PM, Blogger ca said...

Walk-in clinics also offer greater price transparency. If people bought health care off of a menu, the way they do at these clinics, how might their consumption choices change?

See menu pictured on page 3 of this story:
http://www.richmondfed.org/publications/research/region_focus/2009/summer/pdf/feature2.pdf

 
At 8/30/2011 2:01 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Thanks for the link truth or consequences, I'm need some time to peruse it...

"BTW juanny....when are you going to change that picture"...

When I quit shooting dogs with it...

 
At 8/30/2011 2:15 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

I'd keep my eye on WalMart.

I would fully expect them to say that (in the event they do go for clinics) ..that..like your prescriptions.. you'll be able to go to ANY Walmart and they'll have your complete medical history ....same day appointments... and competitive prices...

 
At 8/30/2011 2:23 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"I would fully expect them to say that (in the event they do go for clinics) ..that..like your prescriptions.. you'll be able to go to ANY Walmart and they'll have your complete medical history ....same day appointments... and competitive prices..."...

Well Larry G when Walgreens floated that service a few years ago locally, Walmarts at least locally in St. Louis and St. Charles counties in eastern Missouri...

 

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