The ramp up among retail-based clinics is happening

A new report by Accenture ACN states that the number of U.S. retail-based health clinics will double and drive $800 million in annual cost savings by 2015.

Well, it's not just DSN saying it anymore. The massive ramp up is happening and, according to Accenture, the number of retail clinics is expected to increase 20% to 25% per year between now and 2015, and double from 1,418 to 2,868 clinics in that time period.

DSN expects this ramp up to accelerate as more payers get a better sense of what retail-based clinics — and the practitioners working within them — can do to bend the cost curve, and the scope of practice at clinics continues to expand.

As retail clinics increasingly shift to chronic care services, this will create new, more profitable revenue streams and will fill huge gaps in care — saving payers some serious money. For example, Walgreens’ Take Care Clinics has expanded its scope of services to include management for such chronic conditions as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and asthma, as well as additional preventive health services. And CVS Caremark has stated that nonacute care is MinuteClinic’s fastest-growing segment, due in large part to the rise in chronic diseases and the primary care physician shortage that is plaguing the nation.

Furthermore, the overall convenient care industry has enjoyed some significant industry developments. For example, Massachusetts lawmakers passed in 2012 a massive healthcare bill that seeks to control healthcare costs and expands the services of limited-service clinics to allow for anything within the scope of practice for a nurse practitioner. In addition, South Carolina now allows retail-based health clinics to enroll as providers in Medicaid, a move that enables Medicaid patients to use clinics for wellness visits, preventive services and to treat acute ailments.

Clearly, the massive ramp up is happening — and gaining momentum.

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