Local News

Some Pharmacies Offer Health Care In Hurry

Posted November 1, 2005 9:13 a.m. EST

— MinuteClinic opened in six CVS pharmacies in the Triangle, with two more planned in December. The new clinics provide assistance for those on the go.

MinuteClinic has a family nurse practioner trained to diagnose, treat and write prescriptions for things like strep throat, a sinus infection or a child's ear infection. They refer more serious illness to primary care doctors.

"There are strict guidelines that our nurse practitioners follow and anybody that's outside of those guidelines, they're referred to their primary care physician," said Kristen Broom, a nurse for MinuteClinic.

You do not need an appointment. The clinics are open seven days a week. Each visit lasts 10 to 15 minutes.

To get to the clinic, visitors pass by a maze of retail aisles. Some may see the blurring of the line between patient and customer as a conflict of interest. After all, private physicians do not sell the medicine they prescribe. However, the clinic is a separate business, leasing space in pharmacies.

"Any of the prescriptions that we write, they can get filled at any store. They don't have to get it filled at CVS," Broom said.

The clinics also send a record of their work to each patient's primary care doctor. Their services are covered by most insurers.