business news in context, analysis with attitude

During the next few weeks, MNB will present a series of previews looking at some of the cutting edge topics and speakers who are on the agenda for the 2007 Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Show, scheduled for May 6-8 in Chicago, Illinois.

The timing is good. Just this week, Wal-Mart announced that not only does it plan to open as many as 400 in-store health clinics over the next two or three years, it could raise that total to 2,000 within seven years. Wal-Mart currently has just 76 such clinics in operation, so this represents a major commitment.

That’s just one prominent example of a powerful retail trend – opening in-store health clinics that offer basic diagnostic services, as well as flu shots and other immunizations. The trend has the potential of not just affecting the retail business, but also how healthcare is provided in this country.

The in-store health clinic trend will get significant attention at the 2007 FMI Show, with am actual clinic on display on the show floor and a “Close Up” session on the subject – “In-Store Clinics: Are They Right For You?” – scheduled for Monday, May 7 at 2 p.m.

Lisa Loscalzo, executive vice president of The Little Clinic, will be part of that session…and so we engaged her in the following e-interview to get a sense of what’s happening and what will be discussed.

MNB: Give us a sense of how many in-store medical clinics there are in the US at this point?

Lisa Loscalzo: There are a total of approximately 425 clinics in operation in the U.S. today.

MNB: How do they break out in terms of supermarket locations, drug stores, and any store formats where they may be located?

Lisa Loscalzo: Twenty percent are in supermarkets, 60 percent are in drugstores, and 20 percent are in mass merchants.

MNB: Are there differences in how different organizations run them, or are they pretty much the same?

Lisa Loscalzo: There are essentially three operating models:

1) A Nurse Practitioner-based model treating minor illnesses , providing vaccinations and some health screenings.

2) Physician-based model, offering expanded services with diagnostics on site.

3) A Nurse Practitioner-based model offering some expanded services included lab testing.

MNB: What kind of liability do stores have in providing this kind of medical care?

Lisa Loscalzo: Retail health clinics are generally required to carry their own malpractice and general liability insurance as part of their lease arrangement with the host retailer.

MNB: What is your sense of the next iteration of the in-store medical clinic? What will they offer that they’re not offering now?

Lisa Loscalzo: Retail health clinics can play a key part in the evolution of whole-store health with the idea that health, food and pharmacy are all tied together so you will probably see programs and services developed that take advantage of these synergies.
KC's View:
This is what is called a “tease.” Check out the session and the mock-up at FMI for a sense of how the in-store health clinic model may be able to have an impact on your business.

And, yet again…this reminder about the annual MNB Wine Party scheduled for FMI…

On Sunday, May 6, from 6-7:30 pm, we will once again be hanging out at the Bin 36 bar…and if any members of the MNB community would like to stop by, say hello, and chat for a bit…well, the first couple of bottles of wine will be on us. It’ll be a great opportunity for all of us to put faces and voices with the names and words that appear on MNB plus an excuse to drink good wine. (Not that we need an excuse…)

And there will be a special guest appearance this year – for the first time, Mrs. Content Guy will be joining us!

Bin 36 is located at 339 N Dearborn on the west side of Marina City, between the river and Kinzie.

See you in Chicago.