Primary Care Developments

Much has been written in the press about the rise of primary care clinics, such as Minute Clinic, located inside chain pharmacies, and the American Medical Association has gone on the war path against these competitors. Vanessa Fuhrman wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal today about a Wheeling WV doctor of osteopathic medicine, Vic Wood, who is offering unlimited urgent and primary care for $83 per month for an individual or $125 per month for a family. Medical Economic magazine has described Dr. Wood’s practice as a bargain basement version of concierge medicine. Ms. Fuhrmans reports that health insurers are exploring the merits of these prepaid plans. Dr. Wood is speaking at December 2007 conference of the Society for Innovative Medical Practice Design.

Meanwhile the Orange County California Register reports that “When retail clinics [such as Minute Clinic] first started, all visits were cash-only. But lately, as health care costs continue to soar, some insurers have started covering the visits as a less expensive alternative to a traditional doctor’s office. Locally, Aetna and Cigna are among about a dozen insurers that cover visits to Minute Clinics.