More convenient local retail clinics

February 6, 2012 1:55:42 PM PST
Walk in to a minute clinic like this here at the CVS pharmacy in Hoboken. No appointment necessary and they're open after-hours.

"We do pink eye sore throat sinus infection bronchitis ear infection." says Ashley Slonim, a nurse practitioner.

The retail clinic also offers vaccines and physicals for work or school.

"What is the most common complaint?" asks Dr. Sapna Parikh. "The most common complaint we get here is a sore throat." Answers Slonim.

Many clinics are staffed with nurse practitioners. They can write prescriptions for certain medications and antibiotics.

Critics say it's not the same as seeing a doctor. If you're not trained to recognize and treat a more serious condition, you could miss a diagnosis.

"If there's any uncertainty they will make sure you see a doctor." says Sloanim "We would set them up with a primary care provider in the area. If they don't have insurance or it's something that needs to be taken of care of in 24 hours, we would send them to a nearby urgent care."

An urgent care center is another option for walk-in health care.

Many are owned and operated by former emergency room doctors. They offer more than a walk in pharmacy clinic including X-rays and IV fluids.

"So if you cut your finger on a Sunday morning and need stitches, we can do that. If you're out in Central Park, twist your ankle, and are afraid you might have broken a bone, we can X-ray you, splint you, and have you follow up with an orthopedic surgeon." says Dr. Mark Melrose of Urgent Care Manhattan

But it's not a fully equipped emergency room. So if you're in labor, have chest pain or can't breathe, do not come here call 911, or get to a hospital. And keep in mind almost all retail clinics and independent urgent care centers are run on a business model.

Many will take insurance, but otherwise you have to pay.

The CVS Minute clinic charges $79 to $89, but it's extra for additional testing or treatments.

Urgent Care Manhattan charges $150 for the visit, also extra for X-rays, tests, and vaccines.

If the clinic takes your insurance, you will still have to pay your co-pay. Often, that co-pay is a little higher for an urgent care than for a doctor's office.

If they don't take your insurance or if you don't have insurance, most retail clinics will expect you to pay in full before you leave.

CVS minute clinic charges $79 - $89, $15 urine test for infection and $59 for ear wax removal.

Manhattan Urgent Care charges $150, $120 ankle X-ray, $15 urine test for infection and, $25 for a flu shot.


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