The Empire Strikes Back
A couple articles today (Chicago Tribune & Massachusetts Medical Society Weblog)speaking about physicians taking issue with mini-clinics. This is certainly to be expected as we see the rise of mini-clinics and their acceptance by consumers put pressure on the traditional health care model. The themes are generally the same as we have seen in the past: Safety and Quality of Care. Plus some new ones that mini-clinics could kill the primary care system as we know it and even make it worse with conflicts of interest. (Are docs going to try and suppress this (r)evolution in health care delivery with somthing akin to the Corporate Practice of Medicine Doctrine that they brought to bear at the turn of the last (19th) Century?) Everything that I have seen and read to date mitigates these concerns with empirical evidence that supports safety and quality. Not to mention the overwhelming belief that safety and quality is of the utmost priority with mini-clinic providers.
The more interesting, and again, not surprising theme is that physicians are worried that these clinics will take dollars out of their pocket. They will. Because they are more efficient and cater to customers needs. And since customers...patients...are shouldering more and more of their own health care dollar they are going to spend that dollar where they get the best service. The traditional primary health care system needs to cooperate with mini-clinic providers and adopt this new model of health care delivery, not fight it or we will continue to have the health care system we have today where when my kid has an ear infection on the weekend, I have to wait until Monday to see a doc...or go to the ER for 4 hours.