Announcement of Public Workshop, "Examining Health Care Competition" ("Health Care Workshop") Project No. P13-1207
Reference number:P131207 Since retail clinics hit the market in 2000, well over 1500 clinics have opened nationwide and as the industry continues to grow, so too, does the range of services provided. Available data would suggest that under the right circumstances, retail clinics have cost-saving potential for the US health system in the area of emergency care and could greatly offset the sudden spike in demand for primary care practitioners in the US health system post implementation of the ACA and the launch of the health insurance marketplace. Despite the continuing growth of the industry and potential areas of benefit to the newly transformed health system, regulatory oversight and standards remain within the jurisdiction of individual states. It would therefore be prudent for the FTC to consider steps to take at the federal level in order to maximize on the potential benefits and deter the uncertain but potential negative effects of the retail clinic model. The FTC should invest in more in-depth study of this still relatively new model and set federal standards specific to retail clinics that would mold the model to the needs of the current US health system. Part of the aim of the ACA is to promote a healthcare delivery system wherein quality and cost saving is attained through coordination and continuity of care. Although retail clinics could function as a market tool towards this particular goal, research remains to show the manner in which this business model can be formally incorporated into the current healthcare delivery system. One concrete suggestion is that if the Affordable Care Organization (ACO) model were to become the standard framework of care provision, retail clinics could b incorporated and lead to significant cost savings in care delivery. However, this suggestion is dependent on the success of the ACO model and as such, research is necessary to inform uncertainties. It is possible that in the absence of a successful ACO model the issues of duplicitous, uncoordinated, and limited provision of healthcare services at these retail clinics may actually increase health costs, especially as a result of induced demand created by the retail clinics. Current and targeted research will help clarify the various issues and shed light on next steps. "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."