News

Clinics extend reach, get settled in retail market

BY Antoinette Alexander

For the past seven years, in-store health clinics have sprouted up nationwide, becoming what many consider to be an integral player in today’s healthcare landscape. While the growth of clinics has been impressive, especially in recent years, there’s no doubt that it remains a concept in flux as clinic operators figure out how to best meet consumers’ needs.

Today, the number of clinics surpasses 500 and, according to the Convenient Care Association, the tally is expected to hit 700 by year-end 2007.

Patients have expressed their appreciation for such clinics through their satisfaction ratings (98 percent) and their use of such facilities. Many industry sources believe that the clinics meet an unmet need, as the nation’s healthcare system is riddled with rising healthcare costs, long waits to see a primary care physician and overflowing emergency rooms.

Often times, patients who are unable to see a traditional healthcare provider will head to the emergency room with nonemergency conditions. In fact, according to the CCA, 40 percent of patients who choose to visit an in-store health clinic report that they would have gone to an emergency room or other urgent care facility had there not been a retail clinic available.

Topping it off are the 47 million patients who are uninsured and another possible 30 million who are underinsured.

Typically, nurse practitioners and/or physician assistants, who provide diagnosis and treatment of common family illnesses, administer vaccinations, perform diagnostic screenings and conduct physical exams, staff the clinics. The menu of services usually ranges in price from about $30 to $100, and many major health plans cover the services.

Recognizing that they have hit a nerve, clinic operators now are spreading their wings to offer expanded services and are setting up shop outside the realm of retail pharmacy.

For example, earlier this month, Take Care Health Clinics, which is a subsidiary of Walgreens, announced that it now is offering the human papillomavirus vaccine Gardasil at all clinics in Chicago, St. Louis and Pittsburgh.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States, with more than 20 million people infected as of 2005 and 6.2 million more infected every year. When the virus is active, it can develop into cervical cancer and other conditions depending on the HPV type. Gardasil has been shown to be effective in preventing four strains of HPV, including two that cause about 70 percent of cervical cancer.

The Gardasil vaccine, which is available for females ages 11 to 26, is a three-dose series vaccine administered over six months. For uninsured patients or cash payers, the vaccine is $165 per dose, or $495 for the total treatment series.

Meanwhile, several clinic operators are offering travel medicines in select markets.

There also are such clinics as Lindora Health Clinic, which provides weight-management programs and nonemergency healthcare services, and Early Solutions Clinics, which has developed a health promotion disease prevention program.

Some retail clinics have turned to the physician-staffed model. Among the most recent to hit the scene is Manhattan-based pharmacy retailer Duane Reade. Following the quiet closure of its two RediClinic in-store health clinics, Duane Reade earlier this year teamed up with newcomer Consumer Health Services and opened four physician-staffed clinics called DR Walk-in Medical Care.

In an interview earlier this year, James D’Orta, chairman and chief executive officer of Consumer Health Services, told Drug Store News that when a patient walks in he or she is greeted by a physician extender ( a nurse practitioner, physician assistant or medical technician). They then are placed into the exam room where they are seen by a doctor, not too dissimilar from an urgent care center, but without the diagnostic and radiology services. He also said the scope of services is broader than a nurse-staffing model inside a retail location.

Companies also are looking outside the traditional retail space for opportunities.

AeroClinic opened in May its first clinic at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. And in March, Harmony Pharmacy & Health Center opened its first location in New Jersey at Newark Liberty International Airport. This concept makes sense for several reasons. It enables clinic operators to reach millions of people and affords ill travelers with convenient access to health care.

Going forward, as the healthcare system increasingly grows strained and consumers’ needs become increasingly complex, it is likely that the in-store health clinic model will further evolve. There’s no doubt it is an industry in flux.

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

POLLS

Which area of the industry do you think Amazon’s entry would shake up the most?
News

Kroger appoints Going as Michigan division president

BY Adam Kraemer

CINCINNATI The Kroger Co. announced Wednesday that it has named Rick Going president of the company’s new Michigan division.

Kroger currently operates 138 stores in the state; Going will oversee operations in them, effective immediately.

During his 26-year tenure with Kroger, Going has held a number of district- and division-level leadership positions at the store and has served as vice president of Retail Operations and vice president of Merchandising for Kroger’s Cincinnati/Dayton division.

“Rick brings extensive experience in operations and merchandising to this new role,” said Don McGeorge, Kroger’s president and chief operating officer. “We look forward to his leadership as he works with our associates to build on Kroger’s growth in Michigan by focusing on our customers to create even better shopping experiences for them.”

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

POLLS

Which area of the industry do you think Amazon’s entry would shake up the most?
News

NACDS responds to “misleading” New York Times article

BY DSN STAFF

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has fired back at The New York Times after the publication ran an article in its Sept. 18 issue titled, “The ‘Poisonous Cocktail’ of Multiple Drugs.”

The NACDS said the article misrepresented the role of chain pharmacies in the prevention of harmful drug interactions. The article blamed, “places where chain stores have replaced independent pharmacies or when the patient’s drug plan requires that medications be ordered by mail.” The NACDS retaliated by stating that all pharmacists, no matter whether they work in a chain or at an independent pharmacy, counsel patients for drug interactions and rely on medication information for this purpose.

The NACDS said the article misrepresented the role of chain pharmacies in the prevention of harmful drug interactions. The article blamed, “places where chain stores have replaced independent pharmacies or when the patient’s drug plan requires that medications be ordered by mail.” The NACDS retaliated by stating that all pharmacists, no matter whether they work in a chain or at an independent pharmacy, counsel patients for drug interactions and rely on medication information for this purpose.

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

POLLS

Which area of the industry do you think Amazon’s entry would shake up the most?