2014: Year of the retail clinic

Kroger’s Little Clinic is on a growth path. The company is looking to open as many as 50 new retail-based health clinics next year, according to published reports, as part of a clear health care play the retailer is making in the midst of healthcare reform.

We’ve said it before and we’re saying it again: 2014 will be the year of the retail clinic.

"The Convenient Care Association and its clinic members are looking forward to an exciting year of growtrh and expansion, providing accessible, affordable, quality care to millions of current and new consumers nationwide," Tine Hansen-Turton, executive director of the Convenient Care Association said.

Kroger currently has about 106 clinic locations and, by the end of 2013, the company looks to have nearly 120 clinics across six states. Next year, as many as 50 additional clinics will open their doors, according to reports.

Then there’s CVS Caremark’s MinuteClinic business, which has been described by president and CEO Larry Merlo as “a key enabler of our integrated pharmacy care offerings.” As previously reported by Drug Store News, the company has ramped up its expansion plans and now expects to have more than 1,500 MinuteClinic by 2017.

In August, it was announced that Community Health Network has officially begun its clinical collaboration with the Walgreens’ Healthcare Clinic, creating one of the largest integrated continuums of healthcare delivery in Indiana. As noted by Drug Store News, the collaboration dovetails nicely with Walgreens' plans to significantly expand the scope of care found at Healthcare Clinic.

Furthermore, the convenient care industry and the important role that it plays in the U.S. healthcare system increasingly moves into the spotlight. For example, Andrew Sussman, SVP and associate chief medical officer of CVS Caremark, as well as president of MinuteClinic, was among those who participated in the panel discussion, “The Walk-In Clinic Revolution,” during Forbes’ second annual Healthcare Summit held in New York City Oct. 9 to 10.

As millions of Americans are added into the insurance fold come 2014 due to health care reform — amid a growing shortage of primary care physicians — the role of the retail-based health clinics will no doubt become increasingly important.

Yes, 2014 will be the year of the retail clinic.

 

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