Retail Care off Fast Track

Modern Healthcare – December 22/29, 2008

A new study says the boom in convenient-care clinics appears to be slowing, and this could have a negative implications for the people most likely to use them; the uninsured and Hispanics.  The study indicated that only 1.2% of U.S. families reported visiting a convenient-care clinic in the past 12 months, while only 2.3% reported ever visiting one. Uninsured families accounted for 27% of convenient-care clinic users. Also 1.9% of Hispanic families surveyed had used such a clinic in the past year, compared with 1% of non-Hispanic whites.

According to the Convenient Care Association trade group, there are now roughly 1,150 retail clinics operating in some 38 states.

The most common services obtained at convenient-care clinics were diagnosis of a new illness or symptom, 48%,  prescription drug renewal, 47%,  vaccination, 23%, and care for an ongoing condition, 18%.

Editor’s Note: While we don’t question the accuracy of this study,  we find that convenient-care clinics are in a growth mode in Texas. Texas Med Clinics in Bexar County (San Antonio) is one example of the economic success potential of this business model. Just recently a group of deep pocketed investors in Amarillo started a company that will be building clinics throughout the Panhandle to gear towards walk-in traffic as well as employer based health plans. We expect the convenient-care clinic business model will grow significantly in Texas.