Urgent Care Doctor Note PDF

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Doctor’s Note To Return To School

Before discussing the “health care system” in the United States, one should at least examine the word “system.”

It suggests a sense of order that does not exist in the incoherent, free-jazz mambo called American medicine. The numbers are too ungainly to contemplate.

We spend nearly 18 percent of our gross domestic product on health care, while major European nations do 10 percent to 12 percent.

What we spend on health care every year in this country—$2.9 trillion—actually exceeds Britain’s entire GDP.

But beyond the thousands of dollars each of us spends on health insurance, it’s the smaller numbers that sometimes cause aggravation. It’s the $40 painkillers at the hospital. Or the $140 “first-time patient fee” at a new doctor’s office.

Given the costs, it’s no wonder that a wave of alternatives is sweeping through the market.

(Or as one health executive called it, “the morass.”) Everyone from the old medical guard to the investment community is studying the swift evolution of healthcare options.

In the past, patients went to doctors who were on a list provided by their health plan. But today’s market assures customers of more consumer-driven choices, and they’re choosing simplicity.

Perhaps it shouldn’t be seen as a splintering of the old healthcare system but rather as a needed reconfiguration.

Once derided as “Doc in a Box” outlets, they are now an accepted part of the health scene with at least 9,000 to be found across the country.

This business model has cash-strapped hospitals moving in for a closer look. For the younger, the caffeinated generation that hasn’t formed an allegiance to a traditional doctor’s office, it’s very attractive to walk through a storefront door right now, sans an appointment, after work.

The basic charge will be $75 to $150, and the added costs for some stitches or an X-ray will still be a fraction of the hefty payments sought at a hospital emergency room.

“Recently there’s been a tremendous explosion of interest in the urgent care model in the country,” says Paul Dickison, vice president of marketing at CareSpot, a firm with 52 such clinics.

“A lot of that rush occurred in 2011–2012, with a lot of funding moving into this category.

It was because [equity firms] anticipated migration of the way people received health care, away from primary care to urgent care. There was an immediate need to fill that gap.”

On the coattails of urgent care sites are the more basic “retail medicine” clinics that have sprung up in CVS pharmacies, Walgreens, Kroger, and the like.

Target just made a deal with CVS to maintain retail clinics in 1,600 of its stores. Why? To get shoppers in the door, even if it’s just for a flu shot.

Retail medicine outlets are nothing fancy. According to some assessments, retail clinics only prosper during the winter cold-and-flu season.

Unlike urgent care clinics, which are run by full MDs who can suture minor lacerations, interpret X-rays, and write prescriptions, retail clinics are staffed with physician’s assistants or nurse practitioners.

When more serious maladies arise at either location, patients are steered to a primary care physician.

While the attraction of a retail clinic might help a store’s business in certain seasons, WalMart’s recent drive to add clinics, starting in Texas and South Carolina, appears to be with the intent of someday adding full primary care capabilities to its stores.

In addition to providing bargain-rate health care for Wal-Mart’s 1.1 million employees, it’s also nice to be able to get allergy shots at the same place you buy your underwear and potato chips.

With the likes of Wal-Mart poaching customers, what do family doctors have to say about all this? It’s not all positive.

The walk-in clinics are certainly convenient, but “you just don’t get the continuity of care you get with a doctor who has observed you for years,” says Dr. Robert Wergin, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Wergin is a family doctor in a small town in Nebraska. He recalls the time a woman came into his office after two out-of-town visits to an urgent care clinic.

She was suffering from an aching nose. Diagnosing her with sinusitis, both urgent care doctors prescribed antibiotics. “But I had known this woman,” Wergin says. “I knew something wasn’t right.”

He called a neurologist he knew, got her into a CAT scan the next morning, and within 48 hours she was in surgery for a brain tumor.

Language English
No. of Pages1
PDF Size1 MB

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