Report: Chicago Insurers Support Retail Clinics; Doctors Skeptical

HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a provider of managed care market intelligence, reported yesterday that while insurers in Chicago are embracing retail clinic openings, physicians are concerned the growing convenient care movement could erode the physician-patient relationship.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a provider of managed care market intelligence here, reported yesterday that while insurers in Chicago are embracing retail clinic openings, physicians are concerned the growing convenient care movement could erode the physician-patient relationship. "Because these clinics aren't part of an integrated health system, physicians believe care may be fragmented," said Roy Moore, market analyst for HealthLeaders-InterStudy and author of the report. "Doctors fear that a patient's primary care physician won't know his patient is taking certain medications." MinuteClinic, owned by CVS Corp., Woonsocket, R.I., recently moved into Chicago and has payer contracts with BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois, CIGNA HealthCare and Humana, among others, the report said. Chicago is also home to Take Care Health Centers, owned by Walgreen Co., Deerfield, Ill. The clinics are spreading throughout the United States in retail locations, and typically operate at 30% to 50% less cost than a traditional physician office, 30% less than an urgent care office, and a fraction of the cost of a visit to the emergency room. The emergence of the clinics occurs at a time when more consumers are moving into health savings accounts in which they bear more responsibility for health care spending, according to the report.

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