Sacramento-Area Retail Clinics Face Hurdles to Growth in Early Years
After almost three years since the opening of the first retail health clinic in the Sacramento region, some clinic operators are reworking their business models while making plans to expand, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
The initial attempt at opening a retail clinic was a WellnessExpress clinic in Longs Drugs in Davis, which opened in April 2005. The clinic did not hit the patient volume it needed to sustain itself and closed in late 2006.
Sutter Health has opened six retail clinics in Rite Aid pharmacies but has not seen the patient traffic that it expected. The clinics have logged 14,000 patients, with the highest concentration of patients at the locations in Roseville and Natomas.
Tom Atkins, medical director of Sutter Express Care, said that between 6% and 10% of the patients who visit the clinics use additional Sutter services.
However, Sutter has yet to turn a profit on its $2 million investment, but the company had not projected attaining profitability until two or three years after the clinics opened.
QuickHealth's clinic in a Wal-Mart in West Sacramento has proven to be the most successful of the region's retail clinics, according to the Business Journal.
The clinic, along with the 14 other QuickHealth clinics statewide, are staffed with physicians rather than nurse practitioners or physician assistants. The West Sacramento location sees more than 20 daily patients, which has helped it come close to breaking even (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 3/10).