Are retail clinics in competition with primary care providers?

Health clinics located in retail stores are less expensive and possibly more convenient for patients than primary care providers; however, are they just as beneficial for patients?  Do the patients who frequent the retail clinics utilize these facilities for normal health concerns and not for more excessive health risks and illness?  Some argue that retail health clinics can take away business from primary care providers; although on the other side of the fence, some claim that these retail clinics can provide referrals for those primary care providers…so this could be a good cycle of networking, right?

The government is trying to regulate this situation and cultivate a coordinated effort for both sides to work together to provide the best care for patients.  These policy makers contend that retail clinics can assist in cutting healthcare costs because they offer services at a less expensive rate than primary care physicians, but do patients get the same medical expertise and services for these discounted prices?  That is the question.  For more on this, read, Policy Implications of the Use of Retail Clinics

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