HCFO-Funded Work on Retail Clinic Utilization Featured in New York Times

Publication Date: 
April 13, 2016

Located in storefronts and pharmacies, retail clinics offer convenient, quality care for lower costs than care delivered at physicians’ offices or urgent care centers. In a piece for the New York Times Upshot, Aaron E. Carroll, Professor at Indiana University School of Medicine and Editor-in-Chief of the Incidental Economist, discusses how this has led people to view retail clinics as a method for reducing health care spending. However, the evidence suggests otherwise, and he references findings from a HCFO-funded study from Ateev Mehrotra, Harvard Medical School, that found 58 percent of retail clinics visits were for minor ailments that otherwise would have gone untreated, resulting in an increase in spending of $14 per person per year. Carroll concludes that, “New services that improve access may wind up increasing health care spending,” and that “retail clinics may not be the prescription we need”.