business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Boston Globe reports that CVS has requested permission from the state of Massachusetts for the opening of as many as 30 in-store health clinics that would feature nurse practitioners and physician assistants offering basic diagnosis services, vaccinations, pregnancy tests, and treatment of minor conditions.

“Retail medical clinics are taking off nationally, with about 400 in drugstores, discount chains, and supermarkets in other states,” the Globe notes. “If Massachusetts officials approve the plan, the CVS medical clinics would be the first store-based clinics in the state…Massachusetts public health officials, who license clinics and must determine if they can operate safely, said they are moving cautiously on the proposal. There has been no organized opposition, but some Massachusetts doctors are concerned about the possible negative impact on patient care. They worry that serious problems will be missed when patients are treated outside their regular physicians' offices, or when they are treated by nurse practitioners and physician assistants without on site supervision from a doctor.”

The irony, of course, is that CVS has been a national leader in this trend, to the point that it acquired MinuteClinic – which operates such installations – as a way of exercising greater control and, one assumes, generating greater profits.
KC's View:
Let the clinics open. The upside is so much greater than the downside that to resist the trend would be foolish.