Retail Medical Clinics: Increasing Access to Low Cost Medical Care amongst a Developing Legal Environment
Retail medical clinics are an innovation in health care with the potential to increase access to low-cost basic health care services while changing the delivery model for routine, non-urgent medical care. However, the few states that attempted to directly regulate retail medical clinics have been met with criticism by the FTC due to the proposed legislations' anticompetitive undertones. The relationship between retail medical clinics and the host stores or pharmacies that house them has the potential to spark fraud and abuse concerns. Retail medical clinics must abide by state-specific regulation on scope of practice of the various mid-level practitioners who work for the clinics, particularly to minimize exposure to litigation and keep within the clinics' intended purpose of a supplement to primary care physician offices. The author concludes that the consumer benefits of cost and convenience, combined with the potential for growth and expanded consumer base from a retailers' perspective, make the legal challenge inherent in running a retail medical clinic well worth the effort.