Retail clinic a welcome addition in Haywood

Dec 11, 2012

More than 18 percent of the gross domestic product — that’s the total end value of all goods and services in an economy — is spent on health care in the United States.

It’s an amount that is almost 50 percent higher than the next ranking nation in the world, Even those in the health care field recognize this level of spending is unsustainable and that costs must be reduced.

That’s why the growing trend toward retail clinics makes such sense.

These clinics can be found across the nation in retail stores, supermarkets or pharmacies. They are geared toward treating relatively simple illnesses quickly and at an affordable price. Maladies such as strep throat, infections or minor wounds are typical reasons that prompt a visit to a retail clinic. The clinics are most-often staffed by physician assistants or nurse practitioners, which helps keep costs down.

Furthermore, the clinics offer numerous wellness services, something industry leaders acknowledge is vital to achieving a healthier society.

CVS Pharmacy is one of the leading providers of this type of service, and recently opened a Minute Clinic at the Russ Avenue location in Waynesville. The clinic is open seven days a week until 7:30 p.m. on weekdays and 5:30 p.m. on weekends. Visits start at $79, and most insurances are accepted, including Medicare and Medicaid.

No appointments are scheduled, and those needing to see a medical professional simply sign a sheet and are treated in the next available time slot. Waiting times are generally short, and most visits are take 15 to 20 minutes between seeing the nurse and walking out with a prescription or other remedy.

The clinic nicely complements the existing health care services in the county where emergecy care is available at the hospital, and two urgent care centers are open to handle the medical needs of local residents, travelers and visitors.

Retail clinics certainly aren’t a good substitute for an ongoing patient-physician relationship where overall health is monitored and chronic conditions can be treated. And, the clinics aren’t the answer for those who are having serious or even semi-serious medical problems such as chest pain, a broken leg or a traumatic injury.

But they can fill a gap for individuals who don’t have an established doctor or who need quick attention for something as simple as a tetanus shot after a stepping on a rusty nail.

Because the clinics match more cost-efficient care to the simpler services, it can open up health care services to those who perhaps didn’t have access before. It can also have the effect of reducing the amount families spend on health care, as well as the total amount of resources spent in the U.S. for health care services.

This is something that’s needed.

The CVS Minute Clinic is Waynesville is a welcome asset. We’re glad Haywood residents can now have the option to enjoy the latest trend in addresses pressing health needs in the country.

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