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The Chicago Tribune reports that Meijer has opened in-store medical clinics in two Illinois units, but with a difference – these Medical Marts are staffed by actual doctors, and not just nurse practitioners, and therefore have escaped the wrath of the American Medical Association, which argues that the nurse-staffed facilities could compromise patient care.

One more Meijer store in Illinois is scheduled to get a doctor-staffed in-store clinic before the end of the month, and the Las Vegas-based Medical Mart says that it is working with other retailers to roll out the concept.

The Tribune< writes, “Founded three years ago, Medical Marts has a goal of 400 clinics in retail outlets across the country by the end of 2009. The company has opened seven in Utah in Shopko stores, with four under construction in St. Louis and Virginia.

“But Medical Marts has a long way to go to catch up to some of the industry leaders. There are at least 600 retail medical clinics in the U.S., according to a report last week by Merchant Medicine, a Minneapolis-based research and consulting firm that advises medical-care providers and employers on how to work within the retail clinic industry. CVS/Caremark Corp. subsidiary MinuteClinic is by far leading the pack, with more than 250 retail clinics, followed by Walgreens' subsidiary Take Care Health Systems, with 55 clinics. There are at least 16 companies operating retail health clinics.”
KC's View:
The best way to compete is to bring something new to the table, which is what Medical Mart and Meijer are doing. I have no idea how the economics of this work, but I would imagine that if given the choice between a doctor-staffed facility and a nurse-staffed facility, I’d probably choose the one with the actual physician. That said, I have no problem getting flu shots and easy diagnoses from nurse practitioners.