New Research Supports The Case For Retail Clinics

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Retail Clinics

As employer healthcare costs continue to increase at twice the rate of inflation, there is good news on the horizon. Recent research sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), America's leading public health agency, shows retail clinics can be particularly effective in improving employee health while lowering healthcare costs. Houston employers heard the results of this research firsthand at a recent symposium jointly sponsored by RediClinic and Memorial Hermann Healthcare System.

The October 25th event at The Houstonian Hotel brought together leaders of Houston's business and healthcare communities to learn how the accessibility and affordability of retail-based health clinics, like RediClinics, can significantly reduce employers' healthcare costs and improve the health status of employees. Rising healthcare costs continue to plague employers, and a 2007 study by the Kaiser Foundation indicates that 45 percent of all employers plan to increase the amount that employees pay in 2008 for health insurance in order to address these rising costs.

Presented by Bradley A. Perkins, M.D., M.B.A., chief strategy and innovation officer for CDC, the research, which was funded by the CDC and conducted by the New England Complex Systems Institute, shows that retail-based clinics are particularly well-suited to the delivery of preventive care, and that certain kinds of preventive care can produce superior returns in terms of employee health improvements and cost savings. These high-return preventive services include smoking cessation, adult immunizations such as influenza and tetanus, and screenings for hypertension, cholesterol and diabetes.

According to the research, while the established healthcare delivery system has proven to be very effective at handling complex cases, retail clinics can be better suited to the efficient delivery of preventive care that people need on a regular basis to maintain their health and well-being.

"We are pleased to see that high-quality, independent research has validated the need for retail clinics and their value to employers and employees," said Walt Mischer, Jr., Chairman of RediClinic.

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"The CDC's research findings are affirming but not surprising," said Web Golinkin, President and CEO of RediClinic. "By working closely with employers and other third-party payers in Houston and other RediClinic markets, we have been able to help them reduce employee healthcare costs, and improve employee health, productivity, and satisfaction."

"The opportunity to reduce employer healthcare costs and improve employees' health status is one of the reasons we got involved in RediClinic," said Dan Wolterman, CEO of Memorial Hermann Healthcare System. "It's good to see that outside research also validates the benefits of retail clinics."

RediClinics are in-store healthcare facilities that offer consumers easy access to high-quality, routine health services at affordable prices. RediClinics are staffed by certified nurse practitioners who work with local physicians to diagnose, treat and prescribe medications for common conditions, such as earaches, strep throat and upper respiratory infections. They also administer a wide range of preventive services, including health screenings, flu shots and other vaccinations, and back-to-school physical exams. RediClinic is the only retail clinic to currently offer a smoking cessation program.

RediClinic currently has 12 clinics located in H-E-B stores in the greater Houston area, and two more will open before the end of the year. All of RediClinic's Houston clinics are part of a joint venture with Memorial Hermann, Houston's largest and most innovative health care system.

RediClinics are open seven days a week (including most holidays) and offer extended hours on weekdays. Adults and children over age two are welcome, no appointments are necessary and a typical visit takes about 15 minutes.

RediClinic uses a proprietary electronic medical record system to document and guide patient visits. This system ensures patient suitability to RediClinic's limited scope of practice and facilitates continuity of care when other clinicians are involved. Patients who cannot be treated at RediClinic, or who need ongoing treatment, are referred to their primary care provider, if they have one, or to other physicians in their communities.

RediClinic visits are covered by the four largest commercial health insurance carriers -- Aetna, CIGNA, Humana and UnitedHealthcare -- as well as by Medicare and a growing number of regional carriers such as Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma. Customers who are covered by health plans that do not currently have agreements with RediClinic receive specially-formatted receipts that can be filed for possible reimbursement.

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