Your Healthy Family

May 7, 2013 9:44 AM by Marissa Torres

Drug stores open "Minute Clinics"

Today you can buy milk, toilet paper, and see a nurse all at the same location. There is a growing trend in walk-up clinics across the country. Stores like CVS, Walgreens and Target are adding medical clinics inside their stores staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

The idea of a Minute Clinic is to treat common family illnesses at a convenient location.

"People are mobile now, they're on the go, and they don't always have time to make an appointment," says nurse practitioner Teresa Ashcraft.

So 7 days a week, 8 and a half hours a day, patients walk through the aisles of the drug store to get treatment.

"Ear, eye, nose, throat infections. We do some health screenings, we do sports physicals, camp physicals."

Prices are competitive and posted on a computer screen so patients can pay at the end of the treatment.

"I think if someone didn't have insurance this is probably a very cost affordable option for them," says Dr. Steve Green, with Sharp Healthcare.

Dr. Green is part of a team that helps advise the nurse practitioners.

"There may be something that doesn't seem typical and they're not sure if it falls within their protocol or not, and say they may want to check it. It's always nice to have some backup just in case."

So who uses the minute clinic? Primarily working class families- half of them don't have a primary doctor and nearly 15 percent have no insurance.

"We treat certain common family illnesses, and then we're set up with the correct diagnosis and treating and writing prescriptions where necessary," says Ashcroft.

Clinic visits range from 79 to 89 dollars, and can be more depending on the treatment. While it may not look like your typical doctor's office, for many, it's their first step in getting better.

"We really want to be able to deliver care at the right place, at the right time, the right way, and sometimes this might be it."





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