HealthLeaders-InterStudy, the leading provider of managed care market intelligence, reports that while insurers in the Chicago are embracing retail clinics openings, physicians are concerned the growing quick-clinic movement may erode the physician-patient relationship. According to the latest Illinois Health Plan Analysis, retail clinics MinuteClinic and Take Care Health Centers already have a presence in the market and are working with local payers to facilitate care for patients.
"Because these clinics aren't part of an integrated health system, physicians believe care may be fragmented," states Roy Moore, market analyst for HealthLeaders-InterStudy and author of the report. "Doctors fear that a patient's primary care physician won't know his patient is taking certain medications."
MinuteClinic, the retail clinic chain owned by CVS Corp., recently moved into Chicago and has payer contracts with BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois, CIGNA HealthCare and Humana Inc., among others. CIGNA says it requires clinics to send a copy of a patient's diagnosis to a primary care physician with the member's permission. In addition to MinuteClinic, Chicago is also home to Take Care Health Centers, whose clinics are in Walgreens stores.
Illinois is among states where lawmakers are considering legislation to put more guidelines into place on how advanced practice nurses that staff the clinics should be supervised by physicians.
The clinics are spreading throughout the United States in retail locations, and typically operate at 30 percent to 50 percent less cost than a traditional physician office, 30 percent less than an urgent care office, and a fraction of the cost of a visit to the emergency room. The emergence of the clinics occurs at a time when more consumers are moving into health savings accounts in which they bear more responsibility for healthcare spending.
For additional insight into the retail clinic movement, please visit www.healthleaders-interstudy.com to download a brief audio interview with Jane DuBose, HealthLeaders-InterStudy associate director of health plan analysis.
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