Economics - General Nonphysician Clinicians

AMA takes on Retail Clinics

As my colleague Mike Ewens wrote to me: “Monopolists hate competitors and have to use the government to keep them away.”

An example that takes center stage can be found in a recent Chicago Tribune article (“AMA takes on Retail Clinics“) . Some doctors have asked the AMA to ban on in-store clinics currently being opened by companies such as Wal-Mart and Walgreens.

Why would doctors want to do this? Likely this is to protect their ability to charge high prices to their patients. How can they justify their demands to the public? They claim in-store clinics put patient’s health at risk.

The article concludes:

“We would be disappointed if the AMA adopted a policy that is counter to what patients are demanding, which is more accessible and affordable health care that reduces overall costs,” Walgreens spokesman Michael Polzin said in a statement. “It would be hard to argue against those principles. The bottom line is, retail clinics are improving health-care access and health outcomes while keeping the patient’s doctor informed as the patient desires.”

I see no reason to outlaw in-store clinics. Giving consumers more choice is always a good thing.