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WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Forging ahead on its longer-term goal of creating a national platform to support primary care, CVS Caremark plans to open up at least 150 new MinuteClinic locations this year and is now testing telehealth at more than two-dozen sites.
With a primary care physician shortage that is expected to reach 45,000 in 2020 and nearly half of patients indicating that they do not have a primary care physician, the role of MinuteClinic is no doubt becoming increasingly vital.
As noted during the company’s 2013 Analyst Day in December, the company is looking to increase access via such technology as telehealth, in addition to expanding its geographic footprint and non-acute services.
During Tuesday’s fourth-quarter conference call with analysts, president and CEO Larry Merlo said the company is now piloting telehealth at 28 sites in Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange County, Calif.
“Our California nurse practitioners are now providing patient care remotely through sophisticated video technology and audio equipment with licensed vocational nurses assisting patients,” Merlo said. “We plan to expand this exciting pilot to a second state later this year, and we look forward to the results.”
Merlo also said that during the fourth quarter, revenues at MinuteClinic rose more than 10% despite a tough comparison with a strong flu season in 2012.
During the quarter, the company opened 74 net-new clinics, including clinics in new states and markets, such as New Hampshire and the San Francisco/San Jose area, and hit a milestone of 800 total clinics in 28 states and Washington, D.C.
During 2014, the company plans to open 150 new MinuteClinic locations. By 2017, it expects to have about 1,500 clinic locations.