Carolinas HealthCare System and MinuteClinic Enter Into Clinical Collaboration

Published Online: Wednesday, December 21, 2011
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MinuteClinic, the retail healthcare division of CVS Caremark Corporation, and Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS), which provides medical services at more than 650 care locations in North and South Carolina, have entered into a clinical collaboration that includes 16 MinuteClinic locations in the greater Charlotte area.

MinuteClinic provides 7-day-a-week walk-in access to healthcare services at select CVS/pharmacy stores, where nurse practitioners and physician assistants provide care for common illnesses, injuries, skin conditions, as well as vaccinations and wellness services.

The arrangement is the first of its kind in North Carolina for the 2 organizations.

“We are very pleased to have a hand in building a more integrated, coordinated model of health care for our patients through innovative partnerships like this one,” said Michael C. Tarwater, CEO of CHS, in a statement. “By providing medical directors for each of the 16 MinuteClinic locations in the Charlotte area, we're expanding access to convenient, high quality health care for people and linking them to more services if additional care is needed.”

MinuteClinic is the only retail healthcare provider to receive accreditation and re-accreditation from The Joint Commission.

“Carolinas HealthCare System consistently demonstrates an outstanding commitment to clinical quality and shares our mission of making medical care more accessible and convenient,” said Andrew Sussman, MD, president, MinuteClinic and senior vice president/associate chief medical officer. “Since opening our first clinics in the Carolinas in 2005, we have continued to grow, including the addition of two new clinics in the Charlotte area this year. This agreement will enhance our service capabilities in locations convenient to where patients live and work.”

Under the agreement, CHS physicians will serve as medical directors for MinuteClinic locations in the Charlotte area. In addition, MinuteClinic and CHS will collaborate on patient education and disease management initiatives and will inform patients of the services each offers. CHS will accept patients who need a level of care that is not provided at MinuteClinic. Signage at MinuteClinic locations will inform patients that each site has a clinical affiliation with CHS.

Also, the two organizations will develop a system to enable electronic sharing of patient care data. In the meantime, MinuteClinic will continue its standard practice of sending patient visit summaries to primary care providers via fax or mail.

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are licensed to diagnose, treat and write prescriptions for common family illnesses such as strep throat and ear, eye, sinus, bladder and bronchial infections. Minor wounds, abrasions, skin conditions and joint sprains are treated, and common vaccinations such as influenza, tetanus, pneumonia, pertussis and Hepatitis A & B are available at most locations.

Walk-in physical exams needed for adolescent camp or sports activities are available. In addition, MinuteClinic administers a series of wellness services designed to help consumers identify lifestyle changes needed to improve their current and future health, including screenings and monitoring for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

No appointments are required at MinuteClinic and most health insurance is accepted. Clinics in the Carolinas are open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
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