As walk-in clinics at stores like CVS and Wal-Mart offer convenient alternatives to doctors’ offices and hospital emergency rooms, some hospitals are fighting back — with walk-in clinics at some of those same retailers.
At a health clinic in the King’s Market in Allentown, Pa., Fred Bartholomew was seen by Janelle Sharma, a nurse practitioner.
Wal-Mart Begins to Rebuild Health Clinic Business (May 12, 2009)
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The clinic at the King’s Market is run by two regional medical providers, Lehigh Valley Health Network and Geisinger Clinic.
Around the country, hospitals are now affiliated with more than 25 Wal-Mart clinics. The Cleveland Clinic has lent its name and backup services to a string of CVS drugstore clinics in northeastern Ohio. And the Mayo Clinic is in the game, operating one Express Care clinic at a supermarket in Rochester, Minn., and a second one across town at a shopping mall.
Many primary-care doctors still denigrate the retail clinics as cheap, unworthy competitors. But hospitals see the clinics as a way to reach more patients and expand their business. And they argue that as President Obama and Congress warn of a shortage of primary-care physicians, the hospital-linked retail clinics are filling a vital public need.
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