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The Right Care at the Right Time: Are Retail Clinics Meeting a Need?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Urgent care centers and retail clinics are rapidly emerging within the health care system -- a partial response to rising health care costs and a possible flood of new demand for care as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is fully implemented. The number of patient visits to retail health clinics grew by 1,000 percent in just the last two years, according to a RAND Health study.

Studies also indicate about 17 percent of all visits to hospital emergency departments (EDs) across the nation could be treated at alternative care settings, such as retail medical clinics or urgent care centers. The cost of treating patients with non-emergent conditions in EDs is much higher than in alternative settings -- with respect to patients' out-of-pocket costs and overall U.S. total health spending. With a potential of $4.4 billion in annual health care savings, efforts to divert unnecessary ED admissions are gaining momentum in a time when health spending is particularly high.

Can savings and improved access to care be produced through alternative care settings? Will these settings reduce emergency room use for primary care? Do they have the potential to ease the shortage of primary care providers? Who is monitoring the quality of care being delivered at these centers? What about continuity of care and care management?

To answer these important questions and related ones, the Alliance for Health Reform and WellPoint, Inc. sponsored a June 18 briefing.


Samuel Nussbaum, M.D., WellPoint Inc., Moderator
Ateev Mehrotra, M.D., RAND Health, Speaker
Manish Oza, M.D., WellPoint Inc., Speaker
Rick Kellerman, M.D., Past-President of the American Academy of Family Physicians, Speaker
Tine Hansen-Turton, Convenient Care Association, Speaker

Transcript, Event Summary and/or Webcast and Podcast

Transcript: Briefing Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 6/18/2012
Full Webcast/Podcast: The Right Care at the Right Time: Are Retail Clinics Meeting a Need?

The full webcast and podcast for this briefing, as well as videos of individual speakers' presentations, are provided by Kaiser Family Foundation.

Speaker Presentations

Tine Hansen-Turton's Presentation - Convenient Care Association (PowerPoint), 6/18/2012
Sam Nussbaum's Presentation - WellPoint, Inc. (PowerPoint), 6/18/2012
Ateev Mehrotra's Presentation - RAND Health (PowerPoint), 6/18/2012
Manish Oza's Presentation - WellPoint, Inc. (PowerPoint), 6/18/2012

(If you want to download one or more slides from these presentations, contact us at info@allhealth or click here for instructions.)

Source Materials

Agenda (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 6/18/2012
Materials List (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 6/18/2012
Source List (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 6/18/2012
Speaker Biographies (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 6/18/2012

Offsite Materials (briefing documents saved on other websites)

WellPoint steers patients toward ED visit alternatives,, 7/25/2011
- Berry, Emily
Retail Clinics and Drugstore Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, 5/30/2012
- Cassel, Christine
Lessons in Linking After-Hours Care to Primary Care, The Center for Studying Health System Change, 6/4/2012
- Cassil, Alwyn
Nonurgent Use of Hospital Emergency Departments (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Statement Before the U.S. Senate, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, 5/11/2011
- Cunningham, Peter
Health Law May Accelerate Growth In Urgent Care Centers, Kaiser Health News, 12/7/2011
- Galewitz, Phil
Emergency Departments, Medicaid Costs, and Access to Primary Care, The New England Journal of Medicine, 6/7/2012
- Kellermann, Arthur, and Robin Weinick
2-Year Project Helps Reduce Non-Emergency Cases in Hospital EDs, New Jersey Hospital Association, 5/9/2012
- Kelly, Kerry
Centers for Urgent Care, The Wall Street Journal, 3/27/2011
- McQueen, M.P.
Health Care on Aisle 7: The Growing Phenomenon of Retail Clinics, RAND Health, 9/15/2010
- Mehrotra, Ateev, John L. Adams, and et al.
Why the Grey's Anatomy Myth Clouds the Real Value of Emergency Care, TIME, 4/11/2011
- Pines, Jesse and Zachary Meisel
Ensuring Access to After-Hours Care, The Commonwealth Fund, 4/1/2012
- Squires, David
Policy Implications of the Use of Retail Clinics, RAND Health, 9/20/2010
- Weinick, Robin, Craig Evan Pollack, Michael P. Fisher, Emily Meredith Gillen, and Ateev Mehrotra
ED Visits in Massachusetts: Who uses Emergency Care and Why? (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Urban Institue, 9/1/2009
- Long, Sharon and Karen Stockley
Use And Costs Of Care In Retail Clinics Versus Traditional Care Sites., Health Affairs, 9/1/2008
- Thygeson, Marcus, Krista Van Vorst, Michael Maciosek, and Leif Solberg
Many Emergency Department Visits Could Be Managed At Urgent Care Centers And Retail Clinics (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Health Affairs, 9/1/2010
- Weinick, Robin, Rachel M. Burns and Ateev Mehrotra
Video: WellPoint Helps Reduce ER Overuse , WellPoint, Inc. , 6/18/2012


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