Saturday, April 10, 2010

Walk-in Clinics

      Lancaster General Health is about to open four walk-in clinics in Lancaster County. Three of the clinics, called Wellcare Express, will treat minor problems such as bronchitis, colds, strains and rashes. The fourth, named Urgent Care, will be available for more serious problems: sprains, burns, cuts, etc. The Wellcare Express clinics will be attended by a nurse practitioner and a staff person, while the Urgent Care clinic will have a physician in attendance.
      Although the Urgent Care clinic will be equipped with X-ray and laboratory equipment, the Wellcare Express clinics will not, neither will they draw blood. All will offer shots, health screenings, and school and camp physicals.
      A visit to the clinics will cost $59, payable by insurance, cash or credit card. This covers the cost of being seen – the news release did not specify whether additional charges may apply, although I assume they will. Nothing was mentioned about the patient who cannot come up with the $59; I would hope he would not be turned away, particularly from the Urgent Care clinic.
      Two of the Wellcare Express clinics will be housed in Walmart Supercenters; the third will be located in a Giant Supermarket. The Urgent Care clinic will open in a location formerly occupied by a furniture store. All will be open seven days a week.
      This sounds like a good idea for people who do not have access to their doctors, or who cannot make an appointment at an agreeable time, and this is the market at which LGH is aiming. If your kid has the sniffles or strains a muscle, and your doctor says you can’t get an appointment until 4:00 this afternoon, this is ideal.
      By creating these clinics, LGH further consolidates its grip on health care in the Lancaster County area. I first wrote about this organization on September 22, 2009, regarding their bid to build another money-making not-for-profit facility in West Earl Township. LGH is a not-for-profit organization which reported a net profit of $135.8 million for the year 2007.
      I spoke about LGH’s clinic plan to a doctor, who seemed to think it is generally a good idea, with one reservation. Regarding the clinic located in the supermarket, he said, “Do you want to introduce sickness where you buy your fruit?”
      A good question.
      That there are unseen actions behind visible events is a fact familiar to everyone. For example, we see leaves flying about and bushes shaking, and since we know that these events do not happen through the internal efforts of leaves or bushes, we attribute them to the action of the invisible wind.
      Likewise, when we drop an object to the ground, we know that the object did not fall of its own accord; we say it fell because of the invisible “pull of gravity.”
      Introduction – The Spirit runs Through It
      To read more excerpts from the book, click here.

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