May 29, 2014

With hospital partnerships, supermarkets enter the retail clinic race

Daily Briefing

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Supermarket chains are starting to explore retail clinic opportunities, and partnerships with those stores could offer hospitals an opportunity to reach patients in a different setting, HealthLeaders Media's Marianne Aiello reports.

Retail and pharmacy giants like CVS, Walgreen, and Walmart have been forging a path into health care for years, partnering with dozens of hospitals to bring various health care services to customers inside their stores. By comparison, supermarkets are only starting to venture into the field.

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FastCare—a not-for-profit branch of Ballin Health System—is a key force behind supermarket retail clinics. It has been bringing together hospitals and retailers interested in opening health care clinics since 2006. This spring, it helped open two clinics inside supermarkets:

  • Norwalk Hospital in Connecticut opened a clinic inside a Stop & Shop store. Physicians and nurses from the hospital staff the clinic and send post-visit reports to primary care physicians. Customers without insurance pay a flat $82 rate.

  • Bronson Health in Michigan opened a clinic inside a Meijer supermarket that will be staffed with physician assistants and nurse practitioners working under the guidance of the physician group that staffs Bronson's ED. "The primary difference between Bronson FastCare and other immediate care and urgent care centers in the area is a direct link to the comprehensive Bronson system of care," says John Jones, COO for Bronson Medical Practices (Aiello, HealthLeaders Media, 5/21).

Walmart, Walgreens, or CVS? Your guide to the right retail partnership

Health systems pursing a retail partnership face an inevitable tradeoff between financial risk and autonomy.

This handy chart compares the benefits and drawbacks of each model—both today and in the long run.

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  1. Current ArticleWith hospital partnerships, supermarkets enter the retail clinic race

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