Walgreens Opens In-store Clinics in Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Drug chain Walgreen Co. said it plans to open at least a dozen in-store Health Corner Clinics in each of its Atlanta, Chicago, and Las Vegas markets later this year, beginning with Chicago this fall.

Walgreens opened 10 clinics in the Kansas City market last week and will open nine in the St. Louis area later this summer. 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.

"These clinics can improve health care delivery by making it more convenient and affordable for patients with common ailments," said Don Huonker, Walgreens v.p. of pharmacy services. "The services offered at a Health Corner Clinic 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."

To operate the clinics, Walgreens is partnering with InterFit Health (RediClinic) in Atlanta, Take Care Health in Chicago and Pinnacle EasyCare in Las Vegas. Take Care Health also operates the Health Corner Clinics at Walgreens in Kansas City and soon in St. Louis.

Each Health Corner Clinic will be staffed by certified nurse practitioners available seven days a week with no appointment necessary. Patients as young as 18-24 months (depending on the clinic operator) 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.

Most clinics will work with commercial and government health insurance plans to offer services for insured patients, usually at the same price as their office visit co-pay. For uninsured patients, services are priced below what is typically available today in an emergency room or out-of-pocket at a physician's office.

The clinics' nurse practitioners follow protocols based on guidelines established by the medical community to diagnose, treat, and prescribe for standard family illnesses. A team-based approach with local medical providers is endorsed by each of the clinic operators in order to coordinate patient care. If a patient's condition falls outside of the clinic's scope, the nurse practitioner will refer patients back to their primary care physician or help them find a doctor if they don't have one.

The installation of such in-store clinics is part of a growing trend among mass retailers. In July alone, The Atlanta division of The Kroger Co., Price Chopper, and Schnuck Markets Inc. announced plans to open such facilities (To see these and related stories, visit http://www.progressivegrocer.com and click on the Health & Wellness button.).

Walgreen Co. operates 5,294 stores in 46 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, which includes Walgreens Health Initiatives Inc. (a pharmacy benefits manager), Walgreens Mail Service Inc., Walgreens Home Care Inc. and Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy.is the nation's largest drugstore chain with The company’s fiscal 2005 sales were $42.2 billion.
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