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American Medical Association Cautious About Redi-Clinics

Despite being urged by some of its membership to call for an outright ban on retail-based redi-clinics, the American Medical Association has called for an "investigation" into conflicts of interest inherent in retail/provider partnerships.

Specifically, AMA voted to:

  • ask the appropriate state and federal agencies to investigate ventures between retail clinics and pharmacy chains with an emphasis on inherent conflicts of interest in such relationships, patients' welfare and risk, and professional liability concerns.
  • continue to work with interested state and specialty medical societies in developing guidelines for model legislation that regulates the operation of store-based health clinics.
  • oppose waiving any state and/or federal regulations for store-based health clinics that do not comply with existing standards of medical practice facilities.
. . .

But that's not all.

[In addition, p]hysicians today approved an additional principle that seeks equal treatment for physicians regarding health insurers' co-payment policies. These financial incentives may inappropriately steer patients to these clinics on the basis of cost rather than quality of care.

"Health insurers are allowing store-based health clinics to waive or lower patient co-payments, while forcing physicians to collect these fees, said Dr. Carmel. "The AMA believes health insurers should be prohibited from waiving or lowering co-payments only for patients that receive services at store-based health clinics."

This Chicago Tribune piece is interesting for this quote:

"There is no more urgent issue than this for the AMA," Dr. Kamran Hashemi, a family physician from South Barrington, said, urging the organization to push for more regulation of retail clinics. "This issue speaks to what all of us do every day in practice." If the AMA does nothing, Hashemi said, "in five years, the chairs [at the AMA] meeting will be filled with representatives from Walgreens, Wal-Mart" and other retail outlets.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 27, 2007 6:00 AM.

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