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January 09, 2008

Minute Clinic regs approved in Massachusetts

After tabling the issue last month, the Massachusetts Public Health Council finally approved the long-awaited limited service clinic licensure regulations, aka the Minute Clinic regs, today.  These regs now set the stage for CVS to open a couple dozen Minute Clinics over the next year or so, starting in Weymouth.

I have no beef with these clinics, but I'm still not sure if the fact that there is demand for such an animal is a symptom of a wholesale breakdown of a system that ought to be ensuring access to, and affordability of, services, or if the limited service clinics simply represent a reasonable market solution to that problem.  I suppose it's a little of both.  Since the health care financing system in this country doesn't reimburse primary care clinicians sufficiently for the little things that one goes to Minute Clinics to take care of, and therefore there are fewer and fewer primary care clinicians out there, the places certainly fill a need.  The remaining question is: what are the other benefits we lose, collectively, as a result of losing large numbers of primary care clinicians?  (It's a rhetorical question; we lose plenty.)

-- David Harlow


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I agree with you. I strongly believe that free markets can improve health care, but this is not a level playing field, not unless retail clinics take care of the more complicated follow-ups and physicians sell drugs directly to the public. The law of unintended consequences will cause more harm than good out of this.

But some of us may have more money in our retirement accounts as a consequence.

More at:

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