Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hi welcome to Walmart, the Doctor/NP/PA will be seeing you shortly!

I will admit I am an NPR slave. I listen to it every morning on the days I decide to come into class-today is not one of those the days. So every time I read or hear a story about medicine or healthcare reform I am especially attentive. Today I read this article:

What this article discusses is retail behemoth Wal-Mart's potential foray into providing primary care clinics in its stores. When I first saw this I immediately laughed. Of course Wal-Mart is trying to take over the world, this is just one more step in their global domination plan. They already have pharmacies, grocery stores (in their super Wal-Marts) as well as auto shops all under the same giant roof. In fact the optometrist I go to see is a Wal-Mart optometrist. So this is a logical next step. I guess I can't be too skeptical because Wal-Mart as a business rarely makes bad business decisions (I say business decisions because cutting the insurance policies of part time workers isn't the most ethical of decisions)

The portion of this story that may be especially relevant to medical students is the current plan has these future clinics being staffed primarily with nurse practitioners and physicians assistants. Lately there has been a great deal of controversy over the title of doctor and the roles of NPs and PAs. Could Wal-Mart clinics be a game changer that effects the way medicine is provided? The author of the article doesn't seem to think so, but then again this is Wal-Mart were talking about.

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