|| AMA Calls For Investigation Of Store-Based Health Clinics
The American Medical
Association (AMA) announced today that it would call for investigations
into potential conflicts of interest posed by joint ventures between
store-based health clinics and pharmacy chains.
The AMA's call for investigations was driven by retailers who have
stated that store-based health clinics help drive additional store traffic,
which can increase sales of lucrative prescription drugs and other
non-health related products.
"There are clear incentives for retailers to participate in the
implementation and operation of store-based health clinics," said AMA Board
Member Peter Carmel, M.D. "The nation's physicians want the AMA to ensure
these incentives do not compromise the basic obligation of store-based
health clinics to provide patients with quality care."
The nation's physician leaders meeting at the AMA Annual Meeting voted
to adopt the following directive instructing the AMA to:
1.) ask the appropriate state and federal agencies to investigate ventures
between retail clinics and pharmacy chains with an emphasis on
inherent conflicts of interest in such relationships, patients'
welfare and risk, and professional liability concerns.
2.) continue to work with interested state and specialty medical societies
in developing guidelines for model legislation that regulates the
operation of store-based health clinics.
3.) oppose waiving any state and/or federal regulations for store-based
health clinics that do not comply with existing standards of medical
In separate action, physicians updated principles for the promotion of
quality and safety at store-based health clinics adopted last year at the
AMA policy-making meeting. Physicians today approved an additional
principle that seeks equal treatment for physicians regarding health
insurers' co-payment policies. These financial incentives may
inappropriately steer patients to these clinics on the basis of cost rather
than quality of care.
"Health insurers are allowing store-based health clinics to waive or
lower patient co-payments, while forcing physicians to collect these fees,
said Dr. Carmel. "The AMA believes health insurers should be prohibited
from waiving or lowering co-payments only for patients that receive
services at store-based health clinics."
The AMA and several national medical societies will continue to pursue
a course of action that ensures AMA principles are used to regulate the
provision of care in store-based health clinics.
American Medical Association
Publication Date: 2007-06-26 02:00