WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Health officials have given CVS Caremark the green light to open seven MinuteClinic locations in Rhode Island with imposed conditions, the pharmacy retailer has confirmed.
“We are pleased that the Rhode Island Department of Health has approved the application of MinuteClinic to open seven retail clinics in Rhode Island. We are now in the process of reviewing the report and the conditions related to the approval,” CVS Caremark spokesperson Carolyn Castel said in a statement sent to Drug Store News.
While approving plans to open retail clinics in the state, health director Michael Fine did impose 22 conditions intended to address physician concerns that such clinics could fragment care and interfere with the physician-patient relationship, according to a report by the Providence Journal. However, Fine did note that there is no evidence of such damage elsewhere in the country, and he acknowledged that demand demonstrates a need by patients.
Most of the conditions simply formalize measures that MinuteClinic had already promised to adopt, such as referring patients who don’t have their own doctors to nearby primary care doctors who are accepting patients and providing reports on any treatments to a patient’s doctor. However, according to the Providence Journal reports that he did add a few new requirements, including —
- For each MinuteClinic that cannot locate a primary care provider within a five-mile radius, CVS will pay $25,000 to the Rhode Island Physician’s Loan Replacement Fund, to help boost the availability of primary care doctors;
- Increased uncompensated care. MinuteClinic had agreed to provide free care to patients of the Rhode Island Free Clinic. Fine expanded that to include free care for all patients who can document that they qualify for charity care at a hospital, community health center, community mental health center or free clinic.