PHILADELPHIA — No matter the shape healthcare reform takes in the United States, the retail clinic industry will be a crucial cog. Today, healthcare reform means 33 million additional Americans with coverage, most likely split between Medicaid and low-cost providers. That will create a significant demand for cost-efficient solutions like retail clinics.
The fact that retail clinics will serve on healthcare’s front line was one of the key points made at a special roundtable of retail clinic leaders gathered by the Convenient Care Association earlier this month in celebration of its fifth anniversary at the historic Union League here. According to Ken Berndt, director of business development at Bellin Fast Care, retail clinics can expect to convert as many as one-third of patients without medical homes into the health system fold.
Another trend discussed by the panel: Healthcare payers are increasingly realizing cost-saving synergies by encouraging clinic operators to expand their scope of service from acute care to chronic care management offerings. “Payers certainly see the value,” noted Paulette Thabault, MinuteClinic chief nurse practitioner officer.
The roundtable also addressed the potential benefit realized through increased collaboration between pharmacists and practitioners. “It’s like capturing lightning in a bottle,” remarked Rob Eder, editor-in-chief of The Drug Store News Group, who served as a guest moderator for the group. “The potential for collaboration is immense,” agreed Web Golinkin, CCA board president and CEO of RediClinic and Interfit Health. “It makes a lot of sense.”