February 19, 2008


Wal-Mart can be good for your health: The medical establishment is opposed to drop-in clinics in Wal-Marts and other retail stores. But self-interested doctors need to get over their archaic ways of doing business. (Rahul K. Parikh, M.D., Feb. 19, 2008, Salon)

Doctors are naturally nervous about the rapid growth of retail clinics. About a dozen companies have opened some 400 shops with slogans that range from catchy, such as "You're sick, we're quick" (MinuteClinic), to direct, such as "We Make Quality Care Affordable and Convenient" (QuickHealth). According to industry experts, the number of clinics is expected to grow to over 700 this year. Wal-Mart began dabbling in retail health in 2005, when it opened 76 clinics. It says that over the next three to five years, that number could expand to 2,000.

Many medical groups, like the American Academy of Family Practice and the American Academy of Pediatrics (to which I belong), have published position papers opposing retail clinics. Their basic argument is that retail clinics run counter to the concept of "a medical home," a place where patients receive care for any and all of their problems. They worry that patients will have no sensible place to follow up their test results, and that putting a clinic in a mall or a Wal-Mart could expose shoppers to people with a contagious illness.

The medical community needs a second opinion. Retail clinics are good for American healthcare. By giving doctors a run for their money, they force us to do something we don't do well: innovate. At their best, retail clinics can make doctors look like smart entrepreneurs instead of a self-interest group futilely trying to protect archaic ways of doing business.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 19, 2008 11:16 AM

Doctors oppose this simply because they stand to lose money. For those who forgo doctors and have no healthcare plan or regular doctor, this is the only means of healthcare they can afford.

Posted by: online pharmacies at February 19, 2008 2:19 PM

What sweet irony watching America hating anti-free trade Walmart bashers have one of their pet complaints - health care - addressed by the monster itself.

Posted by: Perry at February 19, 2008 4:26 PM

The loony-toons don't cares about health care. They only care about health care Insurance.

Posted by: erp at February 19, 2008 4:59 PM


I'm not completely sure what you mean by the comment, but I think I get your drift.

But at least on the - how can I pander so that people think I really care about mankind - level, this ranks right up there with Gates and Buffet and other 'uber capitalist', not only leaving billions, dwarfing what was left in the past but tackling real problems, like aids in Africa, third world disease, etc.

You know, results only promised by Socialism.

Posted by: Perry at February 19, 2008 6:45 PM

What I mean is that the "poor" get health care. That isn't the issue. What the left wants to do is use health care insurance the same way they use all their other phony baloney issues, as an it's-not-fair bludgeon to beat over the heads of our weak minded fellow citizens.

Medical clinics in places convenient to low-income housing areas would be incredibly cheap for tax payers even if they were completely free to users. Having them in Walmarts is a good start.

If doctors can't be assured of making a very good living, we'll stop getting the best and brightest doctors. It's just that simple.

Posted by: erp at February 19, 2008 8:31 PM


You think we have the best and brightest now?

Back when my wife was in graduate school, she TA'd an undergraduate cell biology class taken mostly by pre-med and veterinarian students. She said that she could always tell them apart; the vets were always asking, 'How does that work?', and the pre-med students were always asking 'Will this be on the test?'.

Posted by: Mike Earl at February 19, 2008 10:49 PM

Yep. I had two college friends who got phds in microbiology and taught things like o-chem in med school while they were doing their doctoral research and writing it up. Keep in mind that o-chem was a required pre-med course, so they'd all taken it before, yet both my friends said they might as well have been teaching it to monkeys.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at February 19, 2008 11:05 PM

The Left doesn't care about health 'care' - it only cares about money and control. So, it naturally hates insurance (which is fairly unregulated) and of course it hates doctors and it definitely hates informed consumers.

I amn a bit surprised that so many Democratic professional leftists want universal health care, though. It certainly isn't something the plaintiff's bar would like to see (unless Hillary and her pals are going to open the Treasury to lawsuits). Perhaps they believe suing Big Pharma will be lucrative enough.

Posted by: jim hamlen at February 20, 2008 1:53 AM

Universal health care would be a cash and employment cow for the state.

Posted by: Perry at February 20, 2008 8:29 AM

We got the best and the brightest before affirmative action and still get a good number of them because the money's been good. Start paying doctors on a government sliding scale and the number will go way down.

We've had some fairly serious health issues in the past couple of years and even though physicians and other professionals all look like they're twelve years old to us, their level of knowledge and competence is impressive.

Posted by: erp at February 20, 2008 10:32 AM