Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Shameless Plug

I came across this website of Healthy Trust Immediate Medical Care in Wheeling, Illinois. This appears to be an urgent care center. On a post from 4/8/08, they have an entry entitled, " The difference between Immediate Care and Retail Care." Now, I understand that healthcare is a business and retail clinics can impede on urgent care centers. Most of the retail clinics that I am familiar with (at least the ones that are NP staffed) do not purport to be an emergency/urgent care clinic. But, once again NPs become the brunt of the argument against the clinics.

Here are examples from their posting: "These centers are generally staffed with nurse practitioners not true physicians." I don't think NPs try to pass themselves off as "true physicians" or even false physicians for that matter. The vast majority of NPs are proud of the fact that we are nurses first and bring that added level of caring to our encounters. We also enjoy collaborating with physicians to solve and/or refer challenging cases.

"Let say you visit your neighborhood retail clinic with a sore throat. It is common for a doctor, or medical assistant to take a strep test. At an Immediate Care Clinic with an on site lab you will know within twenty minutes whether you have strep or not and should be prescribed an antibiotic. At a retail clinic they have to send the culture out over night to lab for analysis. So if they prescribe you an antibiotic you may not need it. It is the same thing with something as simple as the flu. A clinic with an on site lab can make a true diagnosis while you wait, and treat you accordingly while a retail clinic has to send the culture out to be tested."

Hmm, they have the ability to grow a culture in 20 minutes?? Wow, that is some technology! Because if they are referring to a rapid strep antigen test, it looks like the retail clinics know how to do those too (here and here). The suggestion here is that the NPs in retail health are prescribing antibiotics that may not be needed.

You wanted more? Yes, there's more!

"Obviously a real Physician can provide a broader range of services than a medical assistant or Nurse Practitioner." Obviously? Oh, and the hint again is NPs are not "real physicians." (did you catch that one?) It's also cute how they threw in medical assistants in the same breath as NPs.

"Perception is almost everything to the public. Even though the care you receive is more comprehensive, faster, and overall less expensive at a true Immediate, or Urgent Care Clinic, patients are often lured in by the convenience a retail clinic can offer, and of course the large marketing campaigns which promote them at the major chains they reside in." Translation: you are stupid if you go to a retail clinic because you can get caught up in fancy shiny advertising and the convenience while receiving less comprehensive care by an NP.

Here is their "conclusion" for this obvious advertisement for their center:

"Both models can work depending on the scope of treatment needed, but a true Immediate, or Urgent Care Clinic has significant advantages over a simple Retail Clinic for the average consumer. Since the costs are about the same, and both have convenient locations and hours, the consumers best choice is always to be seen by a true physician at a site that provides for on site lab, and X-Ray. "

I have an alternate conclusion to offer: How about partnering with a retail clinic instead of bashing the Nurse Practitioners that work in them because its obvious that they have a focused scope of services and that a fair number of patients won't be eligible for their services. I would even glean that NPs working in retail clinics would prefer to refer to an urgent care center rather than to an emergency room for obvious reasons. But oh well, I guess they can't see past that. What's that saying.....You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar? This is an awful lot of vinegar.

1 comment:

Nurse Practitioners Save Lives said...

What ridiculous crap! Someone needs to educate these people that NPs are NOT doctor wannabes. To put us "in the same breath as medical assistants" just burns my toast to put it nicely. Great post!