Hospitals Expanding More into Retail Clinics--May 2009

The trend of walk-in clinics inside drugstores and supermarkets has caught the attention of hospitals that want to be part of the group. Data has shown that more individuals prefer the clinics because of cost and convenience.

Throughout the country, hospital clinics are now connected with >25 Walmart clinics. The company, which opened it 26th hospital-linked clinic earlier this month, plans to add more. Its hospital partners include Christus Medical Group in Texas and CoxHealth in Missouri. The Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic are now part of the mix. The Cleveland Clinic has lent its name and services to CVS/pharmacy MinuteClinics in northeastern Ohio. The Mayo Clinic now operates 2 Express Care clinics in Rochester, Minnesota.

Both clinics made the move toward hospital-connected clinics after employees and patients expressed interest in more convenient treatment for minor medical problems. "We think of ourselves as a new model of care; we meet our patients at least halfway," said David Herman, MD, a Mayo executive who supervises the 2 retail clinics, in a May 12, 2009, New York Times article.

Hospital retail clinics are usually staffed by nurse practitioners or physician assistants and supervised by physicians remotely. The clinics typically only serve insured patients or those who can pay for the service, compared with emergency departments (EDs), where it is illegal to turn patients away. Furthermore, the clinics help clear EDs of patients seeking basic medical care.

The US retail clinic market ended 2008 with 1175 retail clinics in 37 states. Whereas hospital systems have been in this market for a number of years, 2008 ended with 38 hospital systems operating 121 retail clinics, according to Merchant Medicine.

For other articles in this issue, see:

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