Monday, June 25, 2007

AMA takes on retail clinics

The Chicago Tribune reports:
The American Medical Association should call for a ban on in-store clinics being opened by retail giants like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Walgreen Co., several doctors groups urged at the AMA's annual meeting in Chicago on Sunday.

Faced with an onslaught of competition that is forecast to bring several thousand retail health clinics to U.S. consumers, AMA members testified that such clinics are endangering patient care, particularly for children. The doctors say the clinics, largely staffed by advanced-degree nurses and physicians' assistants, are largely unregulated and, therefore, put patients' health at risk.

"There is no more urgent issue than this for the AMA," Dr. Kamran Hashemi, a family physician from South Barrington, said, urging the organization to push for more regulation of retail clinics. "This issue speaks to what all of us do every day in practice." If the AMA does nothing, Hashemi said, "in five years, the chairs [at the AMA] meeting will be filled with representatives from Walgreens, Wal-Mart" and other retail outlets.
Here's your classic restraint of trade.Look who's against the free market in health care.