Nearly 6 Million Visit Retail Medical Clinics in 2009; Older Patients and Preventive Services on Rise

Monday, August 20th, 2012
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

Retail medical clinics continue to grow in popularity, particularly among those 65 and up seeking preventive services, a new report from the RAND Corporation shows. Nearly half of visits between 2007 and 2009 occurred on weekends, when physician offices are typically closed. But despite their rising popularity, they still account for a small proportion of outpatient medical care overall.

The elderly are targets of a new initiative from the HHS, which has partnered with five pharmacies to help educate customers about their Medicare benefits. The pharmacies will provide educational materials to beneficiaries about available preventive services and savings on prescription drug spending in the “donut hole” coverage gap, among other things.

Efforts to decrease hospital readmission rates remain stagnant, as the national average readmission rate continues to hover slightly above 19 percent, according to a recent news report from Kaiser Health News. Nearly 300 hospitals, some of them nationally recognized, could lose an estimated $280 million in Medicare funds over the next year as the government starts paying healthcare providers based on the quality of care they provide.

And don’t forget to participate in on our Health and Wellness Incentives Survey. A review of 36 peer-reviewed studies of wellness programs in large firms found that average employer medical costs fell $3.27 for every dollar spent on wellness programs, and costs for days that employees were absent fell an average of $2.73. Please share the details of your incentives program by completing our fourth annual survey by August 31 and you’ll receive a free executive summary of the compiled results.

Read all of these stories in their entirety in this week’s Healthcare Business Weekly Update.

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