HCFO-Funded Study on Retail Clinics Featured by Several Media Outlets

Publication Date: 
March 8, 2016

Retail clinics have been viewed as a convenient option for treating minor ailments at a lower cost than visits to physician offices or emergency departments, leading policymakers and health insurers to believe that they may reduce health care spending. However, Reed Abelson of the New York Times discusses findings from a HCFO-funded study from Ateev Mehrotra, M.D., Harvard Medical School, and colleagues that found retail clinic visits led to slightly higher spending due to increased utilization among patients who would otherwise not seek care. Mehrotra notes that convenience may come at a price, and he raises the question, “Are we getting the worried well or the sick?” The findings were also cited in the Boston Globe, Kaiser Health News, and First Report Managed Care.