Once touted as a way to save money for the healthcare system, a study published in Health Affairs by the RAND Corporation indicates that these clinics may actually increase costs without providing any additional value to the system. In the last decade these clinics have proliferated across United States and their estimates there are approximately 2000 of these in operation at the present time. the studies estimate that these clinics, for more than 6 million patient visits a year. Conventional thinking was that consumers would visit these clinics as a substitution for more expensive consultation in their doctor’s office or emergency department. However about 58% of these visits or estimated to be new users that would not have visited either their doctor’s office or the emergency department for the condition. The RAND researchers estimated that this card for a 21% higher spending for low acuity conditions which is increase of $14 per person per year.
many physicians have been critical of these clinics and suggest that they may hurt patient continuity of care and the doctor-patient relationship with their primary care physician.
This number may reach 2800 clinics by 2017.