Retail clinics take off

Retail clinics have proliferated and their selling point to offering low cost, non emergent care, in convenient locations, with little e waiting time and often at odd hours. There are over 1100 retail clinics, which is a 40% increase in the past year. The two main operators are Minuteclinic and Take Care with a 72% market share most of whom are located in retail pharmacies. About 150 clinics, most owned by small outfits closed last year. The average charge is about $60-80 and break even is between 12-18 months. . Future projections vary from a peak of 4000-6000 by 2012. Deloitte suggests about 13% of consumers had utilized RC’s in the past year. Coverage for RC’s varies from 40-80% of visits depending on the survey. Health Affairs report suggests that a visit to a RC for a ‘comprehensive visit’ costs in the range of $50 less than a trip to a PCP or the ER> A major issue with consumers seems to be the possibility of missed diagnoses or staff qualifications. Local hospitals have started to partner with RC owners in an attempt to get downstream revenue and referrals for more complicated illnesses. The RC can use these affiliations to advertise a credible backup for complicated medical problems. 
Comment: the AAFP (family doc’s organization) had an agreement with Take Care clinics to limit its services. This has now been torn up. It is obvious that RC’s are going to kick it up several notches, particularly with a shortage of PCP’s. They will start to market into chronic disease management problems. They see the 130 million chronic care visits to PCP’s and their eyes light up. They will tap into the 6000NP’s and 4600 newly graduated and PA’s as well as those currently practicing out there. If health insurers cover these visits as a solution to high costs, PCP’s may be forced to deal with RC’s in partnerships. Supervisory requirements for PA’s and NP’s will be reduced as time goes on. (Note: Information for this post is based on a report from Deloitte)