Managed Care ran a story last month about the pros and cons of covering services obtained at store-based clinics ["Retail Medical Clinics Draw Patients & Payers"]. In it, we pointed out that physicians may not be thrilled with the idea of patients getting care from nurse practitioners at malls. Even before the article went to press, the American Medical Association came out with nine guidelines that the organization suggests store-based clinics follow. Not surprisingly, the rules stipulate a doctor's role in such a clinic. Here are some of those guidelines, as spelled out by the AMA:
"Store-based health clinics must establish arrangements by which their health care practitioners have direct access to and supervision by those with medical degrees (MD and DO) as consistent with state laws.
Store-based health clinics must establish protocols for ensuring continuity of care with practicing physicians within the local community.
Store-based health clinics must establish a referral system with physician practices or other facilities for appropriate treatment if the patient's conditions or symptoms are beyond the scope of services provided by the clinic."
In calling for the guidelines, the AMA cites a Harris Interactive poll that shows that while 78 percent of people likes the idea of the clinics, 75 percent "raised concerns about the quality of care these clinics provide."