Walgreens to Open In-Store Health Clinics in Kansas City, St. Louis

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Grocers are not alone in tapping into the demand for in-store health clinics. Chain drug leader Walgreen Co. here said it will partner with Take Care Health Systems to open in-store health clinics inside more than 20 stores in the Kansas City and St. Louis metro areas this summer.

Walgreens also will partner with InterFit Health's RediClinics and with Pinnacle Health System on in-store clinics in other markets later this year.

The clinics will offer patients diagnosis and treatment of routine medical conditions, along with diagnostic screenings and vaccinations, inside centers adjacent to the store's pharmacy department.

"By partnering with these companies, we can improve health care delivery by making it more convenient and affordable for patients with common ailments," said Don Huonker, v.p. of pharmacy services for Walgreens. "The services offered by our in-store clinics will complement care provided by the patient's primary care physician. Our goal is to work with the physician so that they are aware of all of the patient's treatment and can properly coordinate care."

In Kansas City, Walgreens will host Take Care Health Centers in approximately 10 locations this summer. Another 10 Take Care Health Centers will open this summer inside Walgreens stores in the St. Louis market, while other RediClinics and Pinnacle clinics are expected to open in Walgreens stores in other markets later this year.

The clinics, staffed by certified nurse practitioners, will be open seven days a week with no appointment necessary. Patients older than 24 months can be treated for common family ailments including strep throat, ear and sinus infections, seasonal allergies and skin conditions. Screenings for conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and vaccinations for flu, hepatitis B, meningitis and tetanus/diphtheria also will be available.

"Take Care's guiding principle is to do what is in the best interest of our patients. Our nurse practitioners follow clinical protocols based on guidelines established by the medical community to diagnose, treat and prescribe for standard family illnesses," said Peter Miller, president and c.e.o. of Conshohocken, Pa.-based Take Care Health Systems.

"We take a team-based approach with local medical providers in the communities in which we operate to coordinate patient care. If a patient's condition falls outside of our center's scope, our nurse practitioners will refer patients back to their primary care physician. If they don't have one, we'll help them find a doctor or refer them to a specialist if needed."

Most clinics will work with commercial and government health insurance plans to offer services for insured patients at the same price as their office visit co-pay. For uninsured patients, services are priced well below what is typically available today.

With fiscal 2005 sales of $42 billion, Walgreen Co., company operates 5,193 stores in 45 states and Puerto Rico. Walgreens also provides additional services to pharmacy patients and prescription drug and medical plans through Walgreens Health Services, its managed care division.
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