Retail clinics are not for patients with chronic disease

A patient recounts a dubious recent experience at a retail clinic.

Blogging over at Ill and Uninsured in Illinois (via Duncan Cross’ new patient-focused blog carnival), the patient correctly surmises that, “they’re a stop-gap, not a replacement for a primary-care physician,” and, “if you rely on on such clinics for your medical care, it’s very possible that underlying problems will go on unrecognized.”

Worse, studies have shown that many of these clinics are in affluent areas flushed with the well-insured. Those that need these services the most, namely, people without insurance or on Medicaid, find themselves without access to timely care that retail clinics can offer.

Because of the financial disincentives for a pharmacy to open up clinics in such areas, it’s suggested that “it makes more sense to set up nonprofit or government-run clinics and offer incentives to doctors to work there.”

The problem is, will these incentives be big enough to get clinicians to bite?