Doctors’ Move Against Retail Clinics Misdirected
The increasing number of retail clinics in the U.S. "doesn't sit well with the American Medical Association," but the facilities offer accessible, affordable health care, according to a Chicago Tribune editorial (Chicago Tribune, 6/27).
Retail clinics -- low-cost, walk-in facilities often located in supermarkets, pharmacies and large retail stores -- in large part are staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants under the supervision of physicians who in most cases are not on site.
AMA this week at an annual meeting adopted a resolution to ask state and federal agencies to launch investigations into whether retail health clinics place the health of patients at risk and whether the facilities encourage patients to fill their prescription on site. In addition, AMA will seek a ban on a practice in which health insurers offer to waive or reduce copayments for members who seek care at retail clinics (California Healthline, 6/26).
According to the editorial, patients "aren't likely to appreciate the AMA's efforts to 'protect' them from that remedy," and that "may be why the AMA stopped short of calling for an outright ban, as some of its members wanted." The editorial concludes, "Doctors who want to legislate away their patients' choices are only taking care of themselves" through the elimination of competition from retail clinics (Chicago Tribune, 6/27).