In-Store Clinics Follow the Money
Since in-store clinics were first introduced, it has been commonly repeated
that the facilities manned by nurse practitioners would provide less affluent,
often uninsured, consumers with access to basic medical care at a price
they could afford.
Now, as it
turns out, in-store clinics do provide affordable and convenient healthcare.
They just aren’t in neighborhoods that fit the stereotype
of the less affluent user of these services.
A new study,
published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, suggests that if in-store
clinics are going to be made accessible to poorer people, governments are
going to have to come up with incentives to get them to set up shop.
"Many people have
promoted retail clinics as a cure for access to care for the underserved,"
Dr. Ateev Mehrotra of the University of Pittsburgh, told The Associated
Press. "These findings show that’s unlikely to happen."
Laws, director of the California Healthcare Foundation’s Innovations for
the Underserved, said that just because in-store clinics are not located
in poorer neighborhoods does not mean they are not serving consumers in
"People go out
of their neighborhoods to work and shop," she told the AP. "I
don’t think we should make the assumption that they won’t go out of neighborhoods
to seek health care if it offers customer service, better hours and transparent
Does being located in more affluent areas, for all practical purposes,
mean that in-store clinic services are basically closed to poorer consumers
or do they travel to seek medical attention as suggested by some? Should
retailers and in-store clinic providers work with government in a private/public
partnership to offer services to underserved areas?