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Retail Health Clinics
Old 10-25-2007, 08:08 AM   #1
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Retail Health Clinics

I've noticed an increase in the number of retail clinics at local pharmacies. They are catering to not only the working uninsured but to those with insurance. What influences a person with insurance to utilize a retail clinic and in some circumstances pay cash and be seen by a nurse practitioner or physician assistant. Is this the wave of the future ? Primary care docs are complaining, but I don't see them following the example and joining the band wagon.....your thoughts.
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Old 10-25-2007, 08:29 AM   #2
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Why wouldnt people appreciate a walk up clinic where you could see someone for minor things while doing their shopping vs. calling for an appointment and waiting at a clinic....
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Old 10-25-2007, 08:30 AM   #3
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there is rapid expansion of retail heath clinics. People with insurance would use these clinics the same for minor issues/clear cut interventions that the uninsured would do. their reasoning, especially if their insurance covers the visit is to avoid the hassle of getting an appointment or waiting in the doc's office or getting care after hours.

The kind of care typically cited includes those fairly routine/relatively minor ailments that may need scripts: infections (ear, sore throat to check for strep, sinus, bladder)extreme cases of poison ivy or such (requiring steroids), sprains, and such.

Many of these clinics will fax the visit and treatment information to your physician to have a central record and if follow up is needed, you are encouraged to see your regular provider.

These clinics are being located at any store that has a pharmacy - including grocery or more general merchants, such as WM. The wisdom of this approach is being hotly debated in the medical community and in state policy circles.

From my perspective, for uninsured and for inconvenient times of care, this approach is certainly better than using the ER.
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Old 10-25-2007, 08:31 AM   #4
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None in my area yet. Doubt if I would use one. I can go see my regular doctor anytime without an appointment. Just sign in and wait for my name to be called. Only pay a small Dr. copay. Usually a pretty quick process.

I might use one of these if I was out of town and only had a minor problem like a sinus infection.
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Old 10-25-2007, 08:35 AM   #5
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I could see this being a model moving forward, especially if they don't have a lot of high-priced MDs and expensive equipment for more advanced diagnostics. As far as routine visits for minor problems that can usually be handled without MRIs and without CAT scans and (mostly) administered by NPs and PAs with a little bit of MD oversight, it would seem to free up more time for getting appointments with more serious and puzzling conditions.

My only concern would be that the NP/PA would try to diagnose something more complicated on their own instead of "escalating" to a more qualified MD. But for common, minor problems it makes sense. And as others have said, this is certainly better than using the ER.
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Old 10-25-2007, 08:39 AM   #6
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I'm fortunate to have a walk in clinic in my town staffed by seemly competent docs. I never wait more than 15 minutes and they do x-rays, lab work, etc right there. Beats the heck out of my "regular" doc who needs a week's notice for any appointment.

If I didn't have this facility available, I'd use the pharmacy nurses for minor stuff.
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Old 10-25-2007, 09:05 AM   #7
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My only concern would be that the NP/PA would try to diagnose something more complicated on their own instead of "escalating" to a more qualified MD.
This is the exact policy concern being discussed. From legislative hearings, I understand that these clinics have best practice standards that PA/ARNPs must follow and that if the diagnostic issues exceed these paramaters they are to refer elsewhere. The policy discussion is, in part, whether to mandate (put into law) practice restrictions or create some type of lisencing requirement that ensures the clinics use such guidelines. Putting into law the details of what can/can be diagnosed and treated is micro managing and uses the law to practice medicine . The clinics, so far seem to be doing a good job of limiting and policing themselves, so there is little traction here in Florida for licensing beyond the professional's license and the existing practice limitations for PA/ARNP.
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Old 10-25-2007, 04:04 PM   #8
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What influences a person with insurance to utilize a retail clinic and in some circumstances pay cash and be seen by a nurse practitioner or physician assistant.
Both my DH and I used a Minute Clinic (locally they are housed in CVS Drugstores) just this past spring. First my daughter had strep throat, then 5 days later my son had it. (They were both were diagnosed by their pediatrician). Less than a week passed before my DH got sick, and then lastly me. We already knew what we had... no mystery there... and the Minute Clinic was walk right up and they accepted our regular insurance. We just had a co-pay.

I probably wouldn't use a walk-in retail clinic if I hadn't already known with fair certainty that I had strep. The clinic, of course, did due diligence, gave us the swab test, took a brief history, and then wrote up the prescription. It was fast, convenient, and probably cheaper than a visit to the primary care physician.

Charlotte
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Old 10-25-2007, 04:10 PM   #9
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I would definitely use them, depending on cost. If they take insurance - sure I'd use them. I have a high deductible plan, so if the minute clinic is less than $50-100, I'll take it w/o insurance! Plus I know the local CVS's are starting to get this, and they are open during very convenient hours on Sat and Sun. For those working folks w/o sick leave, I could see this as a very appealing medical solution vs. missing a half-day/whole day just to visit the doc (and having your pay doc'ed!).
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Old 10-28-2007, 02:50 PM   #10
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sorry, but there is something about people bringing their open wounds to the supermarket that just grosses me out. perhaps if they only located the clinics near the meat department.
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