Allendale Health Clinic To Close

April 20, 2008
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ALLENDALE — Advantage Health’s Convenient Care health clinic inside Spartan Stores’ Family Fare grocery will close May 30, the Saint Mary’s Health Care physicians’ group has announced.

It was the fourth retail clinic to close in the Grand Rapids area in recent months. Three retail clinics, run by Physicians’ Organization of Western Michigan and Metro Health Hospital at Meijer Inc. stores, were closed as of Jan. 1.

In a news release, Advantage Health said the majority of clinic patients wanted more involvement with their physicians, and required access to services such as laboratories or X-rays.

“Our decision to close Convenient Care is consistent with the Advantage Health Physician Network approach to patient care,” said Dr. Tom Foster, medical director for the organization. “AHPN offers a complete care model where we work closely with our patients to define individual health care goals and preventive care plans.”

Advantage Health will continue to work with Spartan Stores on other health-related issues, such as screenings.

“We believe making health care services convenient and accessible is an important part of preventive health care and treatment,” added Jeanne Norcross, Spartan Stores’ vice president for corporate affairs. “We also believe there are synergies in offering convenient clinic care adjacent to pharmacy. We will continue to look at opportunities to make this option available to our customers and pharmacy patients.”

Retail clinics have been touted as a growing trend for stores with pharmacies, and as a way to provide basic care for minor medical needs on a pay-now basis. Wal-Mart last year said it intended to install 3,000 retail clinics nationwide.

In November, Advantage Health COO Daneen Caro said four or five clinics were planned for Spartan Stores. At that time, Metro Health and POWM, which had operated as many as 16 Affordable Basic Care clinics in Meijer stores in Michigan and Indiana, were trying to regroup after another partner pulled out of the arrangement.

The ABC clinics drew just four or five patients per day, while 12 to 15 patients were needed to break even, Metro Health CFO Timothy Susterich told the Business Journal recently.

Another company, Las Vegas-based Medical Mart, closed clinics in three Illinois Meijer stores, the Chicago Tribune reported last month.

CVS Caremark, which owns MinuteClinic, has 500 clinics in 25 states, and expects to add at least 150 in 2008. There are 18 MinuteClinics in the Detroit area. Walgreens’ Take Care clinics have 150 locations nationwide.

Wal-Mart, which has followed a model similar to Meijer and Spartan by leasing space for clinics rather than running them itself, saw 23 CheckUps clinics in the Southeast close in January, leaving it with 56 clinics in 12 states. The clinics are run by a variety of health care providers.

However, the giant retailer has announced plans to open 400 retail clinics in conjunction with local health care providers by 2010. The first of these “co-branded” clinics were opened in February in Atlanta, Dallas and Little Rock. Wal-Mart and RediClinics have agreed to work together on clinics in 200 Wal-Mart Supercenters. Wal-Mart is working directly with a Catholic health care system to open four clinics in Little Rock. Michigan has yet to see its first Wal-Mart clinic.

According to consultant Merchant Medicine, of Minneapolis, Michigan has 25 retail clinics. 

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