Expansion of Retail Clinics Expected
More than a dozen operators are planning to open thousands of low-cost, walk-in retail clinics in CVS, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Kerr Drug and other stories, USA Today reports. The clinics, which currently number about 150 in the U.S., treat minor ailments such as strep throat, ear infections and allergies.
The clinics can offer a cheaper, faster, more convenient alternative to doctors offices and emergency departments, according to USA Today. To defray costs, clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners, who can diagnose minor ailments and write prescriptions.
However, some critics question the quality of care offered in clinics and contend that the facilities require greater oversight than what is now mandated by state laws. According to USA Today, clinic operators "know they'll be under a microscope until they've been around long enough to gain widespread respect" (Schmit, USA Today, 8/24).