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April 01, 2008

Walgreens, worksite clinics, retail clinics, the future of primary care, and the place of for-profit firms in the health care delivery system

Bob Laszewski hosts a fascinating confab: a dialogue between Brian Klepper and Maggie Mahar -- nominally about Walgreens and its recent acquisition of two workplace clinic companies, but taking a much broader look at primary care in the U.S., whether there is a place for for-profit firms in health care (Maggie thinks not), whether not-for-profit firms look and feel much different from their for-profit counterparts (Brian points out they often do not), and whether the conversation has been dominated (and legislators bought) by certain interested parties.  Informative, lively, and depressing.

Bottom line:  Solutions provided by for-profit health care firms and by the public sector are not likely to be mutually exclusive in what passes for a health care system in this country.  It will be interesting to see if we can collectively build something new based on the best that each model has to offer, instead of sinking to the lowest common denominator.

-- David Harlow

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Retail Clinics offer several advantages without decreasing medical care. I just published a paper on these 'urgent care light'. They are less expensive and save time. Few require a referral for the seriousness of thier condition. The providers are not demoralized like your primary provider.

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