Health Care and Retail

Meijer partners with health system

March 25, 2014
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Retailers race to reach shoppers
Meijer, which operates 204 stores, began in 1938 when barber Hendrik Meijer purchased $328.76 worth of merchandise on credit to serve customers during the Great Depression. Photo via fb.com

One-stop shopping is taking on a whole new meaning.

Bronson Healthcare, which serves southwest Michigan and northern Indiana, will open a retail health clinic next week called FastCare in the Meijer in Portage, at 5121 S. Westnedge Ave.

Considered a retail health care clinic, Bronson FastCare provides treatment for minor medical conditions and symptoms, including allergies, cold and flu symptoms, laryngitis, poison ivy, ringworm and upper-respiratory infections.

Other services include sports physicals and lab tests for monospots, pregnancy, rapid strep and urinalysis, as well as free blood-pressure checks and immunizations.

The clinic is open to anyone and accepts walk-in patients only. It is intended to be a resource to patients, regardless if they have insurance or a primary care physician.

Bronson FastCare accepts most insurance plans and office visit co-pays apply, but for those with high deductibles or no insurance, the cost is $69 per visit.

“We are always looking for ways to improve access to health care services," said John Jones, Jr., senior vice president and chief operating officer at Bronson Medical Practices. "That means making sure we are doing all we can to provide the right care, in the right place, at the right time. It is designed to help all people who have minor health concerns get the care they need quickly, affordably and with maximum convenience.”

The clinic is supervised by Southwestern Michigan Emergency Services physicians, and nurse practitioners and physician assistants provide care for patients.

FastCare will send an after-visit summary to patients’ primary care physician, if applicable, and if the individual needs additional care unable to be provided by the retail health care clinic, the patient will be referred to a different Bronson facility. This link between FastCare and the entirety of the Bronson system is what differentiates the service from other immediate or urgent care centers, according to Jones.

“That includes medical specialists, services in the hospital and outpatient services,” said Jones. “In addition, FastCare will meet the same Bronson quality standards as the other Bronson services.”

The clinic also will use the same electronic medical record program for providers to coordinate patient care at different service locations, in addition to allowing patients to monitor their visits. To counter patient wait time, patients can use a silent pager within the Meijer store to alert them when a provider is available.

According to an Accenture report released in June 2013, the number of retail clinics in the United States was anticipated to increase 20 to 25 percent, from 1,418 clinics to 2,868 clinics, between 2013 and 2015. Accenture is a global management, consulting firm serving more than 120 countries. By the end of 2015, the growth is expected to accommodate roughly 10.8 million patient visits per year, and account for approximately 10 percent of non-primary care outpatient visits.

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