Thursday, April 10, 2008

Save Money. Live Better? 10 Effects of Wal-Mart Clinics on Healthcare

A Guest Post from Heather Johnson, freelance writer

Now Wal-Mart is truly the place where you can find anything under the sun. The mega shopping center now offers healthcare at its walk-in clinics. The reduction in prices that Wal-Mart offers extends to its clinics, but does it mean a reduction in care?

1. Easier Immunization Distribution: As Wal-Mart makes immunizations readily available, people will no longer have to waste time with trips to their primary caregivers.
2. Reduced Fees: "Get Well" visits at Wal-Marts typically cost $45 compared to rising insurance costs and co-pays that are expected in regular healthcare systems.
3. No insurance, no problem: Insurance isn't required at Wal-Mart's clinics attracting the uninsured whom otherwise may go untreated. This will remain a most important issue in the ever-changing American healthcare system.
4. Less crowded ERs: With easier access to treatment through Wal-Mart, emergency rooms won't be flooded with unnecessary visitors.
5. More attention paid to more serious ailments: Primary care providers will be able to attend to patients with more major problems while Wal-Mart tackles the minor aches and pains.
6. Healthcare available anywhere: As Wal-Marts spring up all over the country, even in the most remote areas, people will find healthcare easier to come by where a primary caregiver may not be as accessible.
7. Quality or quantity?: If lower prices are the goal in a nation of surging healthcare costs then quality may also be reduced. While practitioners are staffed at these Wal-Mart clinics, the level of care is up for debate versus the care available in the traditional realm of healthcare.
8. Convenience is the key: It is projected that as Wal-Mart enjoys success in the neighborhood clinic game, we will see similar projects crop up in local malls across the nation.
9. Referrals on the rise: Naturally, as Wal-Mart and its copycat clinics feel a problem may be too severe to be handled on their premises there will be a rise in the referrals to primary caregivers.
10. Disruption in flow of care: Traditional recordkeeping that is done through one’s primary care provider is not mirrored at Wal-Mart clinics. At a Wal-Mart clinic you walk in and get treated and walk out. There is no recordkeeping which could cause problems down the line when you go to your primary caregiver and neglect to mention care you received at an in-store clinic.


Heather Johnson is a freelance writer as well as a regular contributor for RNCentral.com, a website which specializes in providing information about online CNA classes. Heather invites your questions, writing job inquiries and any other comments at her email
address, heatherjohnson2323@gmail.com.

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