NP employment growth likely as retail clinics gain popularity
NEW YORK — Convenience and cost savings offered by retail-based health clinics are attractive to urban patients. Given sufficient cost savings, those urban patients are likely to seek care at such facilities, causing possible further growth and employment opportunities for nurse practitioners in these clinics, according to research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.
The research noted that the widening gap between the demand for primary care services and the supply of primary care doctors — further exacerbated by the some 30 million people who currently are uninsured who will gain healthcare coverage due to healthcare reform — stands to benefit the convenient care industry.
"By providing alternative means for access to minor acute care services, retail clinics can not only be a remedy for primary care physician shortage and a viable access point for the uninsured, but also offer convenience for the insured," stated authors Arif Ahmed, assistant professor of Health Administration at the Henry W. Bloch School of Business and Public Administration at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and Jack Fincham, professor of Pharmacy Practice and Administration at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy.
The results are based on an analysis of 383 metropolitan statistical area residents of Georgia. The respondents predominately were white (71.8%) and female (67.4%), with a mean age of 48.86 years.
The number of clinics undoubtedly has grown since emerging on the scene in 2000, and today there are more than 1,200 clinics. More recently, there’s been an expansion of scope of services provided by many retail-based clinics. Yet, researchers noted that there still is "tremendous opportunity" for further growth.
"Despite the rapid growth, the model of retail clinics is still evolving and provides a tremendous opportunity for growth for nurse practitioners because the profession can play a major role in shaping the future of this industry in the United States," the authors of the study stated. "Although most retail clinics have referral arrangements with physicians or clinics, retail clinics can be made part of the local system of care through appropriate partnerships."
The study reiterated that time and cost savings, the two key attributes of retail clinics, are important factors in patient satisfaction. According to the study, respondents would seek care if the cost was less than $178.64; a cost savings of $30.21 would be required for them to seek care from an NP at a retail clinic rather than a physician at a private office and a cost savings of $83.20 would be required for them to choose to wait one day or more. Furthermore, the willingness to pay for the convenience feature of retail clinics (same-day care) was more than two times larger than the willingness to pay for care from a physician.
"These results bode very well for retail clinics as an alternative delivery point for limited primary care services and the growth of professions like nurse practitioners who typically staff retail clinics," the authors stated. "Expansion of the retail clinic market will not only expand the practice/employment opportunities for nurse practitioners, it will also increase their interaction with the public and likely enhance appreciation and acceptance of nurse practitioners as primary care providers."
Poll finds majority of Americans oppose cuts in long-term care for elderly Medicaid patients
WASHINGTON — Nearly 2-of-every-3 Americans said they would oppose any further cuts to federally funded care for seniors needing long-term care.
A newly released nationwide survey from the Zogby polling firm found that 65% of Americans expressed opposition to policies that resulted in cuts to Medicaid funding for nursing home care for the nation’s poor and elderly. The American Health Care Association, which sponsored the poll, also reported these findings Friday:
A plurality of respondents (40%) said they strongly opposed such cuts to nursing home care;
A strong majority (66%) said they would oppose policies that resulted in additional cuts to Medicare funding for nursing home care for seniors, with 39% saying they strongly opposed such action;
Nearly three-quarters of likely voters (72%) said the federal government’s role in helping states to meet their financial obligations to cover such programs as Medicaid is important, with 45% saying it is very important; and
Nearly two-thirds (65%) of likely voters said they supported extending additional Medicaid funding to state governments in response to state deficits and economic difficulties, with one-third (33%) saying they strongly supported such action.
AHCA’s president and CEO, Mark Parkinson, said the survey results were clear. “As a former governor, I know firsthand the difficult decisions lawmakers face during these tough economic times,” he said. “Despite the nation’s fiscal difficulties, the American people are very clear on where they don’t want cuts: at the expense of the frail and elderly.”
The poll results come on the heels of a study from research firm Eljay, which on Thursday released new projections showing that state Medicaid programs under-funded nursing facility care by $5.6 billion in 2010. On average, according to the researcher, those long-term care centers paid only $7.17 per hour per patient for care, less than the national minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Walgreens, Take Care offer free blood pressure testing
DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens has announced that it is offering free blood pressure testing through Jan. 16 at all Walgreens pharmacies and Take Care Clinics nationwide, as announced Thursday on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."
Blood pressure testing is available to adults ages 18 years and older during regular pharmacy and clinic hours. Each test includes a free consultation from a Walgreens pharmacist or Take Care Clinic nurse practitioner. The free blood pressure tests are not being done for diagnostic or treatment purposes and recipients are encouraged to report results to their primary care providers.
"It’s extremely important for people to know their numbers when it comes to blood pressure, because oftentimes there may not be symptoms that alert you to a problem," stated Richard Ashworth, Walgreens VP pharmacy operations. "Hypertension is one of the most prevalent chronic conditions in our country today, and by offering free blood pressure testing at our more than 7,600 locations, we hope these services and interaction with our healthcare service providers encourage more people to make blood pressure monitoring a practice in managing their overall health."
According to the American Heart Association, more than 76 million people in the United States age 20 years and older have high blood pressure. Of those, the association stated that about 22% are unaware of their condition, 69% are receiving treatment and 45% have their blood pressure controlled.