Meeting Unmet Patient Needs
Timed well with millions of Americans becoming insured under the ACA’s new healthcare coverage, the number of retail clinics is rapidly growing to meet patient needs. With an anticipated shortage of primary care providers, these clinics are geared up to fill in the care gaps, including offering limited laboratory testing. While these clinics have been around since 2000, it’s only been in the last two years that their numbers have significantly increased.
Retailers such as CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, and Target are now in the business of healthcare and are in high demand. According to Merchant Medicine, a research and consulting firm specializing in walk-in healthcare, there are currently 1,623 operating retail clinics in 42 states. These clinics are staffed by Nurse Practitioners and Physicians Assistants who can diagnose, treat, and coordinate care with the primary care physician if desired. Typically, they treat minor illnesses and injuries (e.g. strep throat, ear infections, urinary tract infections, etc.), as well as performing vaccinations and routine physicals, seven days a week, no appointment necessary.