Establishing Retail Clinics among Community Health Centers: Notes from the Field

Mary Kate Scott, Scott & Company

This paper documents the decisionmaking process and implementation strategies of five community health centers that either opened a retail clinic to expand care delivery or seriously considered doing so.

September 2010

Faced with ever-scarcer resources and growing demand for services, federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and their community health center counterparts are looking for new ways to deliver care. One recent innovation is the retail clinic model — a small site inside a retail store and staffed by a nurse practitioner, which is designed to treat simple acute conditions. Variations on this approach include providing a limited scope of streamlined services at a convenient location outside of the retail setting, or offering such services at an existing health center site as an "express lane" or after-hours option.

This paper presents five case summaries that offer practical information to safety-net providers considering one or more of these alternatives for expanding care delivery. They are based on interviews with CEOs (and in some cases, the medical director or retail clinic manager) of health centers that either opened a retail clinic or seriously evaluated the feasibility of doing so.

The five profiles highlight different applications of the retail clinic model, informed by the problem each particular clinic needed to solve. They also document the decisionmaking process as each assessed its options and implementation strategies within its market.

The complete paper is available as a Document Download.