Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Growing Retail Medical Clinic Trend Makes Few Inroads In Poor, Underserved Areas

Date:
May 25, 2009
Source:
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Summary:
Since 2000, nearly 1,000 "retail clinics" have opened their doors inside pharmacies and grocery stores across the United States. Retail chain operators proposed that the new clinics would improve access to medical care among uninsured or underserved populations. However, these clinics have been opened more often in higher-income areas that are less likely to be classified as medically underserved, according to a new study.

Since 2000, nearly 1,000 "retail clinics" -- offering routine care like sports physicals and immunizations and treatment for minor illnesses like strep throat -- have opened their doors inside pharmacies and grocery stores across the United States. Retail chain operators proposed that the new clinics would improve access to medical care among uninsured or underserved populations. However, these clinics have been opened more often in higher-income areas that are less likely to be classified as medically underserved, according to a new study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

"There has been a rapid rise in the number of retail clinics across the United States, but this growth is not evenly distributed across communities," says Craig E. Pollack, MD, MHS, an internist and Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at Penn. "Poorer neighborhoods are less likely to have access to these clinics."

By combining mapping software with Census data and a listing of nearly 1,000 retail clinics across the nation, Pollack and his co-author, Katrina Armstrong, MD, MSCE, an associate professor of Medicine and Epidemiology and chief of the division of General Internal Medicine, found that census tracts with retail clinics had a lower population of black residents, lower poverty rates, and higher median incomes than census tracts without retail clinics.

Housed in stores including Wal-Mart, Target and chain pharmacies like CVS and Kerr Drugs, retail clinics offer walk-in appointments, often on weekends and evenings, and the visits generally cost less than paying out of pocket for similar services at a doctor's office or emergency department. But the Penn authors say these "convenience" factors may not help disadvantaged populations if clinics are located too far away to be reached easily.

"We know that people living in poorer areas are less likely to have health insurance, less likely to have a regular source of medical care, and may have transportation problems that keep them from getting to the doctor," Pollack says. "By tending to locate in richer neighborhoods, retail clinics may not be meeting their full potential to help address these problems."

Previous research shows that a third of retail clinic patients pay for their visits out of pocket, and more than 60 percent of patients report not having a primary care provider. Some opt to pay for after-hours, no-wait care because it's more convenient, even if they have insurance. The new findings suggest that instead of filling an unmet medical need, placement of clinics in more advantaged neighborhoods may act as an adjunct to existing, more traditional medical care – perhaps by staying open later than nearby doctors' offices.

The authors say that to further expand their reach, municipalities should consider offering incentives to store operators to open clinics in underserved areas where they already operate retail outlets. Currently, nearly a third of all chain stores are located in medically underserved areas.

"There may be a real opportunity to put up clinics in underserved areas where there's already supermarkets and drug stores" Armstrong says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Craig Evan Pollack; Katrina Armstrong. The Geographic Accessibility of Retail Clinics for Underserved Populations. Arch Intern Med., 2009;169(10):945-949

Cite This Page:

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "Growing Retail Medical Clinic Trend Makes Few Inroads In Poor, Underserved Areas." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090525173440.htm>.
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. (2009, May 25). Growing Retail Medical Clinic Trend Makes Few Inroads In Poor, Underserved Areas. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090525173440.htm
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "Growing Retail Medical Clinic Trend Makes Few Inroads In Poor, Underserved Areas." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090525173440.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins