Jumping on the Retail Health Bandwagon
Retail health clinics, and NPs staffing them, provide convenient, affordable health care, even for the uninsured. But it's been common lately to see health insurance companies covering services in retail health clinics. Most retail clincs work with insurance providers so that patients can use their insurance and pay only their regular office-visit copay. "All the major health insurers have contracts with our members," says Tine Hansen-Turton, executive director of the Convenient Care Association. Among the insurance companies who offer coverage at clinics are CIGNA, Aetna, BlueCross BlueShield, Humana, and UnitedHealth Group. And these providers are continually expanding their networks to include many of the growing retail clinic chains. CIGNA, for example, recently added The Little Clinic (located in Kroger and Publix stores in Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Arizona and Tennessee) to its network, which includes MinuteClinic, RediClinic, and Take Care Health Systems.
Insurance providers and hospitals, recognizing the benefit of these clinics to the public and the health care industry, have begun opening their own clinics. CIGNA Medical Group owns its own retail clinics, called CMG CareToday, and the Mayo Clinic recently announced that it will be opening several clinics of its own in Wisconsin and Minnesota in 2008. This is good news for NPs, because as these clincs continue to open at a breakneck pace, new jobs are being created for NPs just as quickly. And the involvement of respected key players from the health care industry will promote the good work NPs do.