When it comes to caring for your family’s medical needs, there never seems to be an easy solution. It’s difficult to take time off work and school to visit a doctor. And there’s always the maze of navigating the health care system. But it doesn’t have to be that way. MinuteClinic, the walk-in medical clinics inside select CVS/pharmacy stores, is the convenient and accessible choice for families on the go.
Next time you walk into your neighborhood pharmacy, you may discover a walk-in medical clinic. More than 650 MinuteClinic medical clinics are located in select CVS/pharmacy stores across the United States in 25 states and the District of Columbia.
Open seven days week, including weekday evenings, these walk-in medical clinics are responding to the demand for convenient health care services that suit today’s busy lifestyles. This alleviates the frustration sometimes experienced with obtaining a timely sick-visit at a primary care practice. And since no appointment is necessary, you can eliminate unnecessary trips to the emergency room or urgent care.
MinuteClinic nurse practitioners and physician assistants specialize in family health care and see adults and children for a variety of common illnesses such as ear, eye, sinus, throat, upper respiratory and bladder inflections. They also treat minor wounds, abrasions, sprains and skin conditions such as poison ivy, ringworm and acne. When medically appropriate, practitioners will write a prescription, which can conveniently be filled in-store or at any pharmacy you choose.
A typical patient experience might be:
You pick up your daughter after the school nurse has sent her home with a suspected case of conjunctivitis (pink eye.) She can’t return to school until the condition is diagnosed and treated. You call the pediatrician, but a timely appointment is not available. You decide to visit the MinuteClinic that’s five minutes from your home inside the CVS/pharmacy store you usually shop. After signing in, you’re seen by the practitioner. She is able to diagnose your daughter’s condition and write a prescription for the needed antibiotics. Your insurance card is scanned and you provide your co-pay to the practitioner. With your permission, the practitioner sends a copy of the visit summary to your daughter’s pediatrician.
A few minutes after your visit, you’re standing at the pharmacy to pick-up the prescription. Shortly thereafter, you and your daughter are home. She’s working on her homework, and you’re on your computer finishing the work report that’s due at the end of the day. Elapsed time: less than an hour and a half.
Immunizations, Prevention and Wellness Services
Vaccinations are another reason patients visit MinuteClinic locations. With the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) predicting the worst flu season in 10 years and pertussis (whooping cough) incidence on the rise, the convenience of MinuteClinic has become an important element in preventing the spread of these dangerous diseases. MinuteClinic practitioners administer Tdap and influenza vaccinations for parents and adults who are around young children. Other common immunizations available at MinuteClinic include pneumonia, hepatitis (A & B) and meningitis.
MinuteClinic makes it easy to obtain camp, sports, college and DOT physicals by providing the needed exam and stamping the necessary paperwork. In-clinic screenings for high cholesterol, diabetes and blood pressure are easy to obtain, with results in about five minutes. And if you or a family member has one of these chronic conditions, MinuteClinic is an excellent way to stay on top of your condition with monitoring services in between visits to your primary care provider. Other wellness offerings include smoking cessation, TB testing and B12 injections.
Patients 18 months and older can be treated for the majority of services MinuteClinic offers, but age restrictions do vary by service.
Insurance Accepted; Affordable Care
MinuteClinic is in-network with most insurers, but if you’re without insurance or are one of the millions of Americans opting for a high deductible plan, the cost of treating acute illnesses at MinuteClinic is 40 to 80 percent less than what you’ll pay with other providers.
Most visits start at $79 to $89 and costs for services are posted outside each clinic and also online at www.minuteclinic.com. MinuteClinic accepts cash, checks and credit cards.
Quality and Continuity of Care
In terms of clinical quality, MinuteClinic compares favorably to other options for receiving care. The Joint Commission, the national evaluating and certifying agency for thousands of hospitals, health care centers and physicians’ offices across the country, first accredited MinuteClinic in 2006 and most recently re-certified its clinic locations in summer 2012.
Studies published in the medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine – which were based mostly on MinuteClinic patient treatment – found that the clinical quality you can expect at retail clinics is on par with emergency rooms, urgent care centers and physician offices.
Patients are responding to this convenience and quality. MinuteClinic has seen more than eight million patient visits in the last three years and satisfaction ratings are at 95 percent.
Among those patients visiting MinuteClinic, nearly 60 percent indicate that they do not have a primary care physician. If you’re among this group, MinuteClinic practitioners can help. Each clinic maintains a resource list of primary care physicians in the area who are accepting new patients. And if you do have a regular doctor you see, they’ll provide a copy of your patient record to the physician’s office via fax, mail or electronic record; typically within 24 hours.
At the end of each visit, patients receive a copy of the visit summary, along with educational materials and a prescription if it’s required. And if you’re traveling on business or on vacation, the practitioner at any MinuteClinic around the country can access your patient records from past MinuteClinic visits via electronic medical records.
It’s simple to find a MinuteClinic near you. Go to www.minuteclinic.com.