11 October 2008

Flu Shot at the Minute Clinic

CVS came through for me. The pharmacy's walk-in clinic not only saw me after a 2-minute wait, it also took my Blue Cross insurance. That means my flu shot cost $0 out of pocket.

I cannot report on other clinics appearing in neighborhood pharmacies, but if they are half as good as the CVS Minute Clinic I visited today, I'll be happy to use them.

Walk-in clinics typically invite criticism as costly and potentially harmful to our health. Yet they continue to get our business. (They're open more hours than most doctor's offices. They're faster. And, frankly, they're friendlier.) Having had my share of minor ailments, I feel confident that if I can walk in and state my symptoms, I can probably walk out no worse for wear.

That said, I asked the responsible question of the Nurse Practitioner in the Minute Clinic: "How many people do you refer to a doctor or hospital?" She had an immediate answer, "Two or three a day. The most common reason is age. We don't treat babies."

I was also curious about the work load (not in a negative sense as this is the age of moonlighting in many professions). The N.P. smiled broadly, "This is my only practice. I love it. Weekends are busiest but we open another room. But I like every day." I couldn't resist asking, "No occasional shift at a hospital?" And she got serious, "This is where I belong."

The clinic is small but fully stocked. Patients sign-in on an electronic pad and enter basic information "typing" with a stylus on a touch-screen. The waiting list is published (no last names) and the mood is calm and quiet. Visits appear to be naturally short. Maybe the N.P. is timing everything (a feature at my doctor's office, to be sure), but it's not obvious or off-putting. Record-keeping is computerized and whatever database the Clinic is using, it checked my insurance coverage in about 20 seconds and produced a billing screen. (That's the $0 part of my story.) I declined the offer of an email about online health records because I'm just not ready for an electronic PHR (personal health record). But I suspect that's the direction we're heading across all health facilities.
© 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

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