MinuteClinic Teams Up with UMass Memorial to Improve Patient Care

MinuteClinic, the retail health care division of CVS Caremark, and UMass Memorial Health Care, the largest health care system in Central and Western Massachusetts and the clinical partner of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, have entered into a clinical collaboration to enhance access to high quality health care services in Central Massachusetts.

The agreement is MinuteClinic’s first clinical collaboration with a health care system in Massachusetts.

The collaboration includes MinuteClinic’s location inside the CVS/pharmacy store in Northborough and additional MinuteClinic openings anticipated in Central Massachusetts in 2012. The clinics, which are open 7 days a week, are staffed by nurse practitioners who provide treatment for basic acute medical problems and administer vaccinations.

Nurse practitioners at MinuteClinic specialize in family health care and can diagnose, treat, and write prescriptions when indicated for common family illnesses such as strep throat and ear, eye, sinus and bronchial infections. Minor wounds, abrasions, and skin conditions are treated, and common vaccinations such as influenza, tetanus, pneumonia, pertussis, and Hepatitis A & B are available at most locations.

“UMass Memorial Health Care has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to improving the health and well-being of patients in Central Massachusetts and shares MinuteClinic’s mission to make access to high-quality health care services more accessible in the region,” said Andrew Sussman, MD, president, MinuteClinic and senior vice president/associate chief medical officer, CVS Caremark, in a statement. “Since opening our first clinics in Massachusetts in 2008, we have continued to grow and now have 31 clinics in the state, including nine new locations in 2011. We believe this affiliation will help us expand into other parts of the state as we look to open new locations in Central Massachusetts.”

John O’Brien, president and CEO of UMass Memorial Health Care, stated that the partnership will help the organization “provide the right care at the right time in the right place.”

Under the agreement, UMass Memorial Health Care physicians will serve as medical directors for MinuteClinic locations in Central Massachusetts. In addition, MinuteClinic and UMass Memorial Health Care will collaborate on patient education and disease management initiatives and will inform patients of the services each offer. UMass Memorial Health Care is able to offer the full continuum of care for 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 UMass Memorial Health Care.

The two organizations will begin to work toward fully integrating their electronic medical record systems to streamline communication around all aspects of each individual’s care. With patient permission, MinuteClinic will electronically share medical histories and visit summaries with other UMass Memorial Health Care locations in Central Massachusetts. In the meantime, MinuteClinic will continue to send patient visit summaries to primary care providers via fax or mail, typically within 24 hours.