Study: Retail clinics rare in poorer neighborhoods

In theory, retail clinics are set up to be a bonus for the poor and uninsured, who can use them to get healthcare on the spot at a reasonable price. However, a new study suggests that few retail clinics have opened up in poor neighborhoods.

Instead, retail clinics end up in affluent zip codes, despite the fact that such regions are usually well-served by other forms of medical care. In other words, they do little to help those who don't have health insurance or have little access to other medical services.

To do the study, author Dr. Craig Pollack of the University of Pennsylvania and his colleagues mapped the locations of 930 retail clinics open last year. They then used U.S. Census data to create a profile of the income and racial composition of the neighborhoods.

Their conclusion was that only 123 clinics were located in areas defined by the federal government as being medically underserved, and that areas with clinics had lower percentages of minorities, higher median incomes and higher rates of home ownership.

To learn more about this study:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece (reg. req.)

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