California’s Convenient Clinics: Some Win, Some Lose, All Change

The Sacramento Business Journal (subscribers only) has surveyed the “drop-in” clinics that have sprouted up around the state’s capital city in the last three years or so.

It’s amazing what a diverse group they are! Sutter Express Care, owned by a large non-profit, hospital chain, has been hoping to use its convenient clinics as a “feeder” for more value-added, hospital-based services. It’s not an approach favored by the founder of QuickHealth, a stand-alone chain of clinics located in Wal-Mart, Long’s Drugs, and Farmacia Remedios, who believes that people are more loyal to retailers than health-care providers. The entrepreneur in question, Dave Mandelkern, is a businessman who engages physicians, not nurse practitioners, in QuickHealth clinics. Another clinic, Medi-Stop, is owned by two physicians but care is given by nurse practitioners. And it’s not in a drugstore, but an office park, to attract workers who want to take a short break (not half a day) from their jobs to get health care.

And guess what? Some are succeeding, some are not doing so well, and all are facing conditions a little different than they had expected. Despite California’s over-regulated scope of professional practice codes (as discussed in the U.S. Index of Health Ownership) a number of different business models are competing to gain a foothold.

How distressing this must be for the central planners of American health care! No Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services regulations & guidance for providers (cash payment only, please); no co-ordinating with the U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services’ 500 (or 5,000) day plan to “transform the health care system”; no compliance with the Office of Statewide Health Planning & Development (OSHPD) Facilities Development Division (FDD) such as burdens hospitals, et cetera.

Just entrepreneurs and health care professionals trying to figure out how to deliver care in their communities. How dare they!

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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