The New York Times reports today 43.6 million people in the United States — more than 14 percent of our population — do not have health insurance. Minute Clinic is a for-profit medical office staffed by nurse practitioners and they are located in malls and at places like Wal-Mart and pharmacies like CVS. There are some entities — mainly the American Medical Association — that thinks healthcare options like Minute Clinic are dangerous to your health.
Here’s how places like Minute Clinic serve their patients:
The clinics, staffed by nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants, usually charge $50 or less and treat patients without an appointment. Many of the clients are uninsured. Nearly half of those who have used retail clinics went for a vaccination, and “one-third received treatment for ear infections, colds, strep throat, skin rashes or sinus infections,” according to Grace-Marie Turner, director of the Galen Institute, a free-market-oriented health policy shop. The clinics are spreading rapidly (Wal-Mart plans to open 2,000 in the next five to seven years) and getting some push-back from the medical establishment, with some doctors arguing that the clinics may threaten quality of care.
Here’s how the in-power medical majority establishment plans to shut down the threat of access to cheap, quick-and-easy, healthcare:
Insurance companies are beginning to cover care at the clinics, which also provide services to the uninsured. And though doctors supervise the clinics, many physicians see them as a threat. “What is going to happen to the future of family medicine … Do people want corporate-style medicine?” a family doc told the Tribune.
The Illinois State Medical Society is pushing a state bill that would require permits for clinics. The doctors are also calling for closer physician supervision of the clinics and for more regulation of their marketing. The group plans to rally support for a similar federal law at a meeting of the American Medical Association next month.
Here’s how nurse practitioners define their role:
A nurse practitioner (NP) is a registered nurse (RN) who has completed advanced education (a minimum of a master’s degree) and training in the diagnosis and management of common medical conditions, including chronic illnesses. Nurse practitioners provide a broad range of health care services. They provide some of the same care provided by physicians and maintain close working relationships with physicians. An NP can serve as a patient’s regular health care provider.
Is the AMA more concerned about the rise of nurse practitioners or places like Minute Clinic?
Is the fact that insurance companies are now beginning to pay for services at Minute Clinic too much of a threat to the status quo of healthcare where referrals are required and Primary Care Physicians can lock in patients while making them waits days and weeks for appointments and service?
Isn’t the AMA’s involvement in this matter a clear indication of the threat to their power and influence in the marketplace of American healthcare and yet another bare-faced blow against those who are not “appropriately credentialed?”
Is the popularity of places like Minute Clinic a clear indication that the American public are now ready to support a fair and uniform National Healthcare system?