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The American Medical Association (AMA) is calling for both state and federal investigations into the health clinics operated in retail stores, saying that the facilities do not offer appropriate or comprehensive care and could put patients at risk. The association also says that the clinics could get in the way of traditional doctor-patient relationships, and represent a conflict of interest because the retailers’ central goal is to sell products and prescriptions, not look out for patients’ best interests.

According to the AMA, it plans to support legislation that would govern “the corporate practice of medicine and the standards by which nurse practitioners and physician assistants are allowed to practice.”

The clinics have become more popular of late, with chains such as Wal-Mart, Walgreen and CVS all getting into the business.
KC's View:
According to one story I read, Dr. Rodney Osborn, president of the Illinois State Medical Society, was quoted as saying, "Our concerns are very simple: safety and patient care.”

He reportedly made the comment from the back nine of the Butler National Golf Club, where he was trying to diagnose the problems in his putting game.

Just joking. We kid because we love.

In all seriousness, I think that there has to be legitimate oversight of in-store health clinics so that patients’ rights are protected and their safety assured (at least as much as possible). That simply makes sense.

But the AMA response seems to be a little knee-jerk, especially because there are a lot of Americans out there who need accessible and affordable health care, and going to the emergency room or a doctor’s office just isn’t in the cards. That needs to be factored into any discussion of this issue.

And the AMA may not be paying attention to that part of the argument.