BURLINGAME, Calif. The era of the retail clinic continues to evolve as QuickHealth opened itsninth location inside a Wal-Mart store in Fremont, Calif., last month, the companysaid.
Only two years after opening its first clinic, the company also has plans for five more locations before the end of the year, including one inside a Longs Drugs in Fairfield, and 200 more over the next few years. “If you’re talking about convenience care, the soccer mom with the 8-year-old who has strep throat, how many of those would come in a Wal-Mart or a Longs,” QuickHealth chief executive officer David Mandelkern told the East Bay Business Times. “And the conclusion was maybe 10 to 15 a day would come in, and that is not enough.”
Despite naysayers who believe that retail clinics may be set up for failure, Mandelkern says he believes that QuickHealth will soon be profitable. While it takes close to a year to have a QuickHealth location operate smoothly, and hire enough physician assistants to fulfill the patient-doctor ratio, these financial setbacks allow QuickHealth to offer a wider array of services than what Mandelkern dubbed as “nurse kiosks.”
QuickHealth offers no-appointment-necessary, 15-minute consultations with a doctor for $49, and even offers an array of services ranging from wart removal to suturing minor cuts. Also among these services, patients can also receive immunizations and tests ranging from liver function to pregnancy. A special-value “healthy lover” package, including physical exam, STD and HIV tests will cost around $199.
QuickHealth’s approach is to appeal to the uninsured market (as 75% of its patients don’t have coverage) rather than the affluent looking for convenient care. Payment is cash only.
The number of retail clinics has increased dramatically in the United States According to a report produced for the California HealthCare Foundation; there had been less than 100 retail clinics in operation last year. Presently, Drug Store News estimates the total at more than 600.