Announcement of Public Workshop, "Examining Health Care Competition" ("Health Care Workshop") Project No. P13-1207
I am a student at Columbia University. However, this comment to the Federal Trade Commission reflects my own personal opinions. This is not representative of the views of Columbia University or the Trustees of Columbia University. Retail Clinics have steadily increased their presence in the health care market since their inception in 2000. Retail clinics provide low cost, easy access, and quick service that has attracted patients from all demographics. From 2007-2010 retail clinics utilization rates for families increased from 1% of the population to 3%. Concentrated in more affluent areas, retail clinics are utilized more frequently by individuals that are at least six times above the poverty level. Opponents of the retail clinics claim that the services provided are of low quality, and that the model creates fragmentation of care. Many states support these claims and thus pass legislation that decreases the scope of practice and autonomy of Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners, the two professions that allow retail clinics to provide low cost services. Nevertheless, retail clinics are projected to expand into areas such as chronic disease and medication management, as well as direct-to-employer insurance programs. Additionally, with the expansion of Medicaid under the ACA retail clinics will be in higher demand given the limited availability of primary care physicians. However, for retail clinics to become true "disruptive innovation" regulatory barriers that limit the scope of practice for nurse practitioners and physician assistants must be addressed. More importantly, retail clinics should increase their presence into low-income communities.