WOONSOCKET, R.I., Aug. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- A new study by Rand Corporation, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, concludes retail clinics provide quality care at lower costs and equal or better quality than other urgent care options. The study was based in part on data from MinuteClinic and illustrates the value that retail clinics offer in the effort to provide quality care and lower medical costs, MinuteClinic officials said today. MinuteClinic, the pioneer and largest provider of retail-based health care in the United States is a subsidiary of CVS Caremark.
"This affirms our internal data which shows that costs for caring for common illnesses at retail clinics are significantly lower than other venues, such as doctors' offices, urgent care centers and emergency rooms," said Dr. Andrew J. Sussman, President and Chief Operating Officer of MinuteClinic. "Additionally, this study shows why our customer satisfaction ratings exceed 90 percent; patients get quality care at an affordable price."
The Rand study found that the quality of care at retail clinics is on a par with doctors' offices, urgent care centers and emergency rooms for certain services. The study found that the costs of treating acute illnesses at retail clinics were 30 to 40 percent lower than in physicians' offices and urgent care centers, and 80 percent lower than emergency departments.
Sussman said that while MinuteClinic has developed a care model to provide affordable quality care for common illnesses, the company continues to work to integrate its efforts with primary care physicians for patients who are more seriously ill with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension.
"As Congress debates health care reform and looks for ways to better manage overall health care costs, retail clinics should be looked at as a way help achieve that goal," said Sussman.
In the Rand study researchers reviewed the experiences of 2,100 patients treated in clinics in Minnesota in 2005 and 2006 for middle ear infections, sore throats or urinary tract infections. The quality of medical care was judged using 14 indicators of quality and whether patients received seven preventative care services during the initial and additional visits over three months in doctors' offices, urgent care centers and hospital emergency departments. The study is published in the September 1 edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
MinuteClinic health care centers are staffed by nurse practitioners who specialize in family health care and are trained to diagnose, treat and write prescriptions for common family illnesses such as strep throat and ear, eye, sinus, bladder and bronchial infections. Minor wounds, abrasions and joint sprains are treated, and common vaccinations such as influenza, tetanus, MMR, and Hepatitis A & B are available at all locations. In addition, MinuteClinic administers a series of wellness services designed to help consumers identify lifestyle changes needed to improve their current and future health, including screenings for diabetes, hypertension and obesity.
Minneapolis-based MinuteClinic is a subsidiary of CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS), the No. 1 provider of prescriptions and related health care services in the nation. MinuteClinic launched the first retail health care centers in the United States in 2000 and is the first provider to establish a national presence with about 500 locations in 25 states. By creating a health care delivery model that responds to consumer demand, MinuteClinic makes access to high-quality medical treatment easier for more Americans. The company has generated more than 4 million patient visits, with a 95 percent customer satisfaction rating. A recognized leader in the patient-centric health care movement, MinuteClinic consistently brings innovation to the marketplace and sets new standards for clinical quality that exceed the national guidelines established for store-based clinics by the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). MinuteClinic is the first retail health care provider to receive accreditation from The Joint Commission, the national evaluation and certifying agency for nearly 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. For more information, visit www.MinuteClinic.com.
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