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CVS medical officer: Retail clinics have 'come of age'
May 5th, 2010
WOONSOCKET, R.I. – With health care reform set to boost the number of patients, in-store clinics can play a pivotal role by providing a convenient and affordable outlet for services, according to CVS Caremark Corp. chief medical officer Troy Brennan.
Speaking at the Health Affairs "Reinventing Primary Care" conference in Washington, D.C., Brennan outlined how the walk-in clinic model has "come of age" just as the need for new access points for basic health care is rising because of the growing shortage of primary care doctors as well as an influx of new patients needing care.
CVS Caremark's network of more than 500 MinuteClinics in 25 states and the District of Columbia are well-positioned to help primary care physicians handle the 32 million citizens who will gain access to health insurance starting in 2014, he noted.
"As health reform is implemented by Health and Human Services, we believe retail clinics offer complementary care that can help better manage medical costs," said Brennan, who also is an executive vice president at CVS Caremark. "MinuteClinic is a market innovation that should be considered as part of the solution to providing care to all our citizens."
He pointed out that MinuteClinic consistently receives better than 90% patient satisfaction rates and is seeing rising acceptance by commercial insurers and doctors.
"We are developing key relationships with integrated delivery systems in metropolitan areas, and we are expanding services beyond MinuteClinic's traditional focus on acute family illnesses," Brennan stated. "We will be including health promotion and chronic disease monitoring and prevention as part of our future services."
Last week, MinuteClinic formed a clinical partnership with Catholic Healthcare West, the nation's eighth-largest hospital system, to provide enhanced health care services in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The CVS Caremark health clinic subsidiary also has forged alliances with Allina Hospitals & Clinics in Minnesota and the Cleveland Clinic, and Brennan said more relationships are planned in the months ahead.
MinuteClinic has served more than 7 million patients since its launch in 2000 — 6 million since 2007, according to CVS Caremark. About 60% of MinuteClinic patients don't have a primary care doctor, the company said.