On January 13, 2009, Take Care Health Systems, operating Take Care retail health clinics at Walgreen's pharmacies nationwide, celebrated the milestone of servicing its one millionth patient. Response to the clinics by the general public indicates that Take Care continues to satisfy the health care needs of a growing number of consumers.
In the spring of 2007 and in reaction to growing concerns regarding unncessary expenses some LewerMark students were incurring as a result of non-emergency visits to the emergency room, the LewerMark team icluded coverage for walk-in health care serices provided by Take Care retail health clinics at Walgreen's pharmacies and MinuteClinic locations in CVS pharmacies across the country.
Shortly after its innovative partnership with Take Care, The Lewer Agency was pleased to announce that the LewerMark walk-in clinic network expanded significantly, as a result of Walgreen’s acquisition of Take Care in 2008. The acquisition resulted in an additional 400 clinics.
According to the One Millionth Patient press release, Take Care Health Systems provide an attractive option for insured and uninsured consumers looking to stay healthy while controlling their health care spending in a challenging economy. Company data captured from Take Care clinics’ one million patient visits show:
Had it not been for a Take Care clinic, nearly 30 percent of patients would have gone to a more costly site of service – the ER or Urgent Care and 11 percent would not have sought treatment at all.
Approximately 20 percent of patients either are uninsured or pay cash for these services (suggesting they may be uninsured or underinsured).
Roughly 30 percent of patients that visit Take Care clinics do not have a health care home (a primary care provider they see routinely for ongoing health care needs) and are subsequently referred to a local primary care physician.
Patients are thrilled with their experience; recent results illustrate 92 percent overall patient satisfaction.
“The retail clinic model clearly fills an unmet need in the health care market. Overall, patients have widely embraced this new option for care, with visits nearly quadrupling since 2006, and more than doubling in the last year,” said Carl Doty, research director at Forrester Research. “Looking forward, this widespread consumer adoption will only continue to drive growth for the sector, and research projects that a year from now about one out of four people will have visited a retail clinic at least once.”
In 2008, Take Care Health Systems opened 185 additional sites. The company currently operates in 35 markets and 18 states, and will continue to grow during the year.
“2008 was a landmark year for us as the marketplace embraced our approach to high-quality, accessible, and convenient health care, making continued expansion of our retail clinics and worksite health and wellness centers possible,” said Peter Miller, President and CEO of Take Care Health Systems. “Throughout 2009, Take Care Health Systems will continue to add locations, services and offerings to meet the needs of patients, clients and employee populations.”
“The addition of Take Care and MinuteClinic retail clinic coverage to the LewerMark plans has helped to contain costs and maintain premium rates for our client schools,” said LewerMark director Jeff Crawford in response to Take Care’s recent press release. “As we approach our third anniversary of the addition of coverage for retail clinic services to the LewerMark plans, we continue to be very pleased with our decision.
More Retail Clinic Headlines
While state and federal governments flail around trying to unbreak the health care "system" that they've been breaking for decades, entrepreneurs are addressing patients' needs in innovative ways. CVS, a leading chain of pharmacies has now cut prices of 400 generic drugs to $9.99 for a 90-day supply for uninsured patients who pay cash. Customers can also enroll for a $10 annual fee in a program to get 10% discounts at on-site MinuteClinics. CVS wants to use low-cost generics “priced less than laundry detergent” to drive traffic to the MinuteClinics and into the aisles where other products are stocked. Source: SPN.
Live in Chicago? Click on Go CVS for five very positive reviews from satisfied MinuteClinic patients who visited the Southport Avenue location, between Addison Street and Waveland Avenue. As one customer put it, “I even received a get-well card from the NP. My own mother doesn’t send me cards!”
Elsewhere, CNN Money.com published an extensive article about the evolution of healthcare in America. According to the article, “over the past two years, the number of retail clinics has jumped from 200 to 1,100. Meanwhile, a slew of employers are now providing health care at the office, hoping to save money and boost productivity. And a small but growing number of physicians are even offering Web consultations, typically for less than half the cost of an in-person appointment.” The article also compares the cost of treatment of a sore throat in the ER (avg. $328 and wait time 3 hours) with the cost of the same treatment in a walk-in clinic ($69 and wait time less than 30 minutes). For the full report, click on Your Doctor's in Aisle Four.