More than one in four people with private health insurance visited a retail medical clinic over a three year period (2007 – 2009) and the total number of visit grew tenfold over the period. Sarah Kliff (Ezra Klein blog) writes:
One disappointing finding in the RAND study had to do with patients of retail clinics in federally designated Health Professional Shortage Areas, places the government deems to have too few medical providers. There has been some hope that, with retail giants like CVS and Walmart being more ubiquitous than doctor’s offices, they could help bridge that gap in medical care. The study found no association, however, between primary care physician availability and retail clinic use.
Yet this problem might well be solved if Medicare adopts the advice given by Tom Saving and yours truly and pays market rates for seniors. Similar advice should be followed by Medicaid. See our previous post and additional links.
The study was published in the American Journal of Managed Care.