And according the Los Angeles Times, new mini-medical clinics are starting to pop up all over the country with names such as MinuteClinic, FastCare and MEDSpot. Inside, you'll typically find nurse practitioners or physician assistants ready to diagnose and treat what usually takes up 80 percent of the cases seen in a regular doctor's office. We're talking earaches, sinus infections, sore throats and seasonal allergies.
The new clinics, with slogans such as, "You're sick, we're quick," promise to see patients in fifteen minutes and no appointments are necessary. If it turns out you've got a minor ailment that requires a prescription, it can be written on the spot.
One of these shopping mall medics, called Minute Clinic, has treated 150 thousand patients in 14 quick care clinics nationwide. And they recently opened eight centers in Target stores in the Baltimore area. They also have plans to add 200 more locations nationwide in the next four years. But the new clinics do have some rules.
They don't treat babies under the age of 18 months or anyone with chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease. Also, these are not urgent care facilities for an emergency, you should still go to the hospital.
And if these quick clinics suspect you have a long-term or more serious condition, they refer you to a doctor. Oh, and just so you know, a doctor is on call for each of the clinics. That's required by law.
Prices vary, and some clinics don't take insurance, but most charge about half of what you would pay a typical doctor's office. And if things should get backed up, many of them send you off with a beeper so you can shop until it's your turn!