Friday, January 11, 2008

More Retail Clinics: Health Care When You Want It

BOSTON GLOBE: After state regulators cleared the way yesterday for store-based medical clinics, CVS Corp. said it plans to open more than two dozen inside Massachusetts drugstores this year, dispensing treatment for bronchitis and earaches a few aisles away from shelves of candy and nail polish.

The vote by the Public Health Council marked a signal and controversial shift in the healthcare landscape: The CVS MinuteClinics will be for-profit operations staffed by nurse practitioners only, in a state where medical treatment historically has been the province of not-for-profit hospitals and physicians working in mostly large group practices. Other pharmacy chains and retail stores, as well as hospitals and community health centers, could also open limited service clinics.

No appointments are necessary, visits typically last 15 minutes, and clinics will be open nights and weekends. Treatment for common illnesses typically costs $59 or $69 at MinuteClinics in Connecticut. In Massachusetts, insurance companies are expected to cover the visits as they do in other states.


At 1/11/2008 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A related article on how public sector involvement distort prices here

At 1/11/2008 12:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best way the government can "solve" most of our problems is to GET OUT OF THE WAY.

Wish I had heard more of that in the debate last night. From a noncrazy person.

At 1/11/2008 3:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Fraser Institute (Canada) releases an annual report on the state of health care in Canada. The 2007 report, discussing many of the shortcomings of universal coverage, is on their site

(Good stuff, Professor.)

At 1/11/2008 6:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds good, and I like saving money, but where do we draw the line at the practicing of medicine without a doctor's license, or using an inspected and licensed medical facility? Will I be able to take a six-week nursing class and put a sign at the end of my driveway that says "Free Breast Exams" inquire in the garage?

I realize my remarks appear somewhat ludicrous, but they won’t seem so far-fetched the first time a nurse misdiagnoses pneumonia or throat cancer for bronchitis or the flu and a patient dies. It might be a rare occurrence, but odds are, it will happen.

There are legitimate medical reasons why doctors receive more training than nurses. I am not sure that I am ready for a “Quicky Lube” medical experience. Saving money is cool, but not if you are dead.


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