AMA Wants to Probe Retail Health Clinics

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The American Medical Association (AMA) said on Monday that it will ask state and federal authorities to investigate retail health clinics such as those offered in CVS/Caremark stores, Wal-Mart Stores and Walgreen Co. for possible conflicts of interest that put profits ahead of patient health.

The American Medical Association is against the tendency of drug-store chains that write and fill prescriptions. "We asked for that clear, inherent conflict of interest to be investigated," said AMA board member Dr. Peter Carmel at a news briefing.

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The American Medical Association representative said that the push was driven by retailers' statements that the clinics help drive store traffic.

Dr. Peter Carmel said that health insurers are allowing store-based clinics to waive or lower patient co-payments, while forcing doctors to collect these fees. He added:"That is clearly an attempt to steer the patient to a store-based clinic."

Doctors said the clinics do not offer comprehensive care and they disrupt the standard physician-patient relationship.

Dr. Rodney Osborn, president of the Illinois State Medical Society, who practices in Peoria, Illinois, said: "Our concerns are very simple: safety and patient care."
According to the American Medical Association in 2006,

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