WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark has announced that its MinuteClinic operation has become the first retail clinic operator to be re-accredited and earn The Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval for consecutive evaluation periods by having demonstrated compliance with The Joint Commission's national standards for healthcare quality and safety.
"This recognition reaffirms our strong commitment to clinical quality and safety that is at the core of everything we do throughout the MinuteClinic organization," stated Andrew Sussman, M.D., president of MinuteClinic. "With more than 6 million patient visits and patient satisfaction ratings that exceed 95%, we have consistently demonstrated our ability to serve patients and deliver the highest level of care in the more than 40 metropolitan markets we serve throughout the country."
The accreditation applies to MinuteClinic locations in 25 states and the District of Columbia. In September 2006, MinuteClinic was the first retail clinic in the United States to achieve Joint Commission accreditation.
The Joint Commission conducted unannounced, on-site evaluations of MinuteClinic locations across the country during the third quarter 2009.
"Accreditation by The Joint Commission sets MinuteClinic apart," stated Michael Kulczycki, executive director of the Ambulatory Care Accreditation Program for The Joint Commission. "Organizations awarded this Gold Seal of Approval dedicate themselves to continuous operational improvement."
The Joint Commission accreditation supports recent research about the quality of care provided by retail medical clinics. Independent clinical studies, based largely on MinuteClinic data, were published in the September 2009 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. They found that that the quality of care delivered at retail clinics is equal to or higher than emergency rooms, urgent care centers and physician offices, and the cost for services is substantially lower than those offered by these other providers, the company stated.
Every MinuteClinic patient assessment and treatment follows nationally established clinical practice guidelines from the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement, American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics that are embedded in MinuteClinic's electronic medical records system, the company stated. Using the EMR, practitioners generate educational material, an invoice, a prescription (when clinically appropriate) and a diagnostic record that can be sent to the patient's primary care provider. A collaborating physician is on call during operating hours.