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Limited-Service Clinics Provide Promising New Model Of Health Care

Armen Hareyan's picture

"Limited-service clinics" in Massachusetts can "help meet an important need: Expanding the capacity for delivering quality, affordable and accessible care for acute, common family ailments," Michael Howe, CEO of MinuteClinic, writes in a Boston Globe opinion piece. State public health officials are developing "a regulatory context" for such clinics, "at which nurse practitioners treat common ailments seven days a week, at a much lower cost and shorter waiting times than emergency rooms," according to Howe.

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Limited-service clinics are "already blossoming around the nation" because "[i]n addition to being conveniently accessible seven days a week, limited-service clinics can expand access to high-quality care by helping people who do not have insurance or who lack a primary-care physician to find both," he writes.

Along with treating routine conditions, "these clinics can also improve the capacity of the state's health care system by freeing emergency rooms to focus on genuine emergencies and enabling physicians to spend more time providing comprehensive support for their patients' complex and chronic conditions," Howe adds.

Howe notes, "Of course, Massachusetts knows better than anyone that health care reform is complicated" and that "[n]o one model will decide its success or failure." Howe adds that limited-service clinics "represent a new model of health care delivery solutions," and "Massachusetts' long tradition in health care -- a tradition marked by innovation and excellence -- can be the guide" (Howe, Boston Globe, 9/10).