MA doctors protest CVS retail clinic expansion

Another group of doctors is taking arms against a sea of retail clinics (though there's little hope that by opposing they'll end them). Illinois physicians are already lobbying for a new state law that would regulate retail clinic operations, ostensibly to protect the public, though it would be silly to suggest they weren't concerned about competition as well. Now, working with hospitals and clinics, a clutch of Massachusetts medical organizations are on a similar crusade, fighting a planned retail clinic expansion by CVS Caremark. The list of groups include the Massachusetts Medical Society, Massachusetts Academy of Family Physicians, Massachusetts Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics, Massachusetts Hospital Association and Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers.

The groups, which have sent a letter to the state's public health commissioner, are objecting to CVS Caremark's plan to open 20 to 30 MinuteClinics in the Boston metro. What really upsets them, they say, is the possibility that CVS Caremark will get a waiver of several standard clinic licensing requirements. The groups are demanding a public hearing on CVS Caremark's proposal. "Granting waivers of basic public health protections and standards of care to a for-profit company in order to reduce the economic burden to that company in competing with other health care providers is a public policy decision that is unfair to providers," the groups said in a joint letter to the commissioner.

To learn more about the protests:
- read this piece from The Boston Globe
- read the groups' press release

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