Hospitals, retail clinics affiliate in partnered care

Adding to the growing list of hospital-retail clinic partnerships, UCLA Health System is affiliating with CVS Caremark's MinuteClinic, to improve the quality and affordability of healthcare services, both organizations announced yesterday.

Under the new affiliation, MinuteClinic and UCLA Health System will work together on patient education and disease management efforts. UCLA physicians also will serve as medical directors for 11 MinuteClinic walk-in clinics that operate seven days a week, according to the announcement.

"UCLA's international reputation for clinical quality and nearly 60 years of experience in serving the residents of Los Angeles County at the highest level of patient satisfaction were important factors in our decision to affiliate," Andrew Sussman, M.D., president of MinuteClinic and senior vice president and associate chief medical officer of CVS Caremark, said in a statement.

When considering a potential hospital partner, MinuteClinic also looks for systems that share a geographic footprint in a community, and dedication to clinical quality, collaboration and enhanced access to care, Sussman told FierceHealthcare in an interview last month.

The surge in hospital-retail clinic partnerships will help the industry address the primary care shortage, and retail clinics are well-positioned to fill those gaps, Sussman said.

Prior to the affiliation, members of UCLA's executive team already were using retail clinics for minor ailments, The Los Angeles Times reported.

"It was sort of a confessional, and that was very revealing for us to hear," UCLA Health System President David Feinberg told the newspaper. "We do our best to be accessible, but the reality is it can be hard to park [at UCLA]. We're not always open late or weekends," he said.

To learn more:
- read the announcement
- here's the Los Angeles Times article