Retail health clinics—threat or promise?BMJ 2007; 335 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39265.426817.59 (Published 05 July 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:21
- Douglas Kamerow, former US assistant surgeon general and the BMJ's US editor
American doctors are up in arms about retail based clinics. Hundreds have opened, located in about half of US states. Last week, the American Medical Association House of Delegates beat back a proposal by some worried members to call for a ban on the clinics. They did, however, adopt a resolution asking state and federal authorities to investigate whether these low price, convenient competitors were putting patients at risk.
Most retail clinics are located near the prescription counter inside large grocery stores or pharmacies. They are open long hours seven days a week. They are staffed by nurse practitioners or physician assistants who diagnose and treat common illnesses, give immunisations, do physical examinations, and perform a limited number of procedures.
Unlike in the UK, where some GPs have set up walk-in centres in retail settings, the US clinics are usually not full-service surgeries staffed by doctors. Nor are they owned by doctors or hospitals. Most are owned by one of a dozen for-profit companies with up to 200 clinics each. …
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