Retail health care is changing fast, but New York isn’t

May 14, 2019

Retail clinic usage higher in NY than in other states” captured a key point that is frequently missing in the health care debate. Policymakers at the state and national levels are concerned with the cost of health care but often overlook the nature and quality of the care we receive and how we receive it.

Slow recognition of industry trends stymie health policy changes that can increase access to care, improve quality and reduce cost. Retail clinics in New York state are a perfect example of the disconnect between policymakers and providers.

New York state regulators do not recognize a formal retail clinic model. A variety of laws complicate their establishment. To get around these laws, large retailers like CVS and Walmart rent space in their stores to private health practitioners or develop other workarounds. But these complicate the structure, frequently increasing costs and leaving important questions unaddressed, such as liability for negative health outcomes or the impact of such clinics on more traditional providers. This could do significant long-term harm to the overall system.

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