Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Retail-based Convenient Care Clinics Bring Quality Care to a Location Near You

Where can you find the accessible, affordable, quality healthcare that the Affordable Care Act promises to provide? One of the best places, and one you may have overlooked, is a local retail-based convenient care clinic. There are over 1,600 clinics in 39 states today. Their growth is expected to accelerate as consumers who are newly insured under the law confront an increasing shortage of primary care physicians.

Retail-based Convenient Care Clinics Bring Quality Care to a Location Near You

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Where can you find the accessible, affordable, quality healthcare that the Affordable Care Act promises to provide?  One of the best places, and one you may have overlooked, is a local retail-based convenient care clinic.  There are over 1,600 clinics in 39 states today.  Their growth is expected to accelerate as consumers who are newly insured under the law confront an increasing shortage of primary care physicians.

The growth of these convenient care clinics is also promoted by an ongoing shift in the way providers are paid.  Reimbursement is moving from fee-for-service to payments based on value.  The success of the new approach will depend in part on patients' ability to find high-quality, low-cost care, the kind that convenient care clinics are uniquely positioned to provide.

As part of the growth trend, an increasing number of large healthcare systems are partnering with convenient care clinics, and in some cases opening their own clinics.  This allows them to deliver the most cost-effective care and to help find a regular primary care provider for the roughly 40 percent of convenient care patients who say they don't have one. 

Many clinics are expanding their service offerings to include chronic disease care and wellness programs, such as smoking cessation.  They are also using technology, such as telehealth, to reach a broader set of patients. These are logical extensions of the clinics’ commitment to the triple aim of providing care that is high quality, easily accessible, and affordable and to the clinic’s mission of filling gaps in patient care.

The clinics also play a crucial role in helping to build the healthcare workforce by expanding opportunities for nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Many convenient care clinics also offer opportunities for clinical training for students in these fields through preceptorship and residency programs. These clinicians will be essential to our health care system in the coming years.

As health reform brings health insurance to an increasing number of Americans, convenient care clinics will be crucial in helping them to use that coverage to receive the accessible, affordable, and high quality care that they need.

 

Chief Strategy Officer of Public Health Management Corporation
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The Field Clinic reports and analyzes health care laws, government policies, and political trends that are transforming the care we receive and the way we pay for it. Read more about our panel of bloggers here.

This blog is produced in partnership with Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health-policy research and communication organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Portions of this blog may also be found on Inquirer.com and in the Inquirer's Sunday Health Section.

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Robert I. Field, Ph.D., J.D., M.P.H. Professor, School of Law & Drexel School of Public Health
Jeffrey Brenner, MD Founder of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, Medical Director of the Urban Health Institute at Cooper University Healthcare
Andy Carter President & CEO, The Hospital & Healthsystem Assoc. of Pa.
Robert B. Doherty Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs & Public Policy American College of Physicians
David Grande, MD, MPA Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Tine Hansen-Turton Chief Strategy Officer of Public Health Management Corporation
Drew A. Harris, DPM, MPH Director of Health Policy Program at the Jefferson School of Population Health
Antoinette Kraus Director of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network
Laval Miller-Wilson Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Health Law Project
David B. Nash, MD, MBA Founding Dean of the Jefferson School of Population Health
Mark V. Pauly, Ph.D. Professor of Health Care Management, Business Economics and Public Policy at The Wharton School
Howard J. Peterson, MHA Managing Partner of TRG Healthcare, a national healthcare consulting firm
Paula L. Stillman, MD, MBA Healthcare consultant with special expertise in population health and disease management
Elizabeth A. W. Williams Senior Vice President & Chief Communications Officer for Independence Blue Cross
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