March 23, 2017
Safeway, in partnership with Quest Diagnostics, and together with CVS, Target and Wal-Mart will open a Patient Service Center in the San Rafael store. It will offer an array of testing for thyroid function, glucose levels and cholesterol levels. While pre-screening drug testing is not yet available, it's slated to begin at some point this year.
The Patient Service Center in San Rafael's Safeway was just one of 12 pilot locations around the nation. Quest National Patient Services Executive Director Chris Grant said another 56 Safeway location have followed suit.
He said the model has done extremely well, with patients eagerly responding to it.
A Rand Corporation survey found that several years after the recession and the aftermath, there has been a slow growth. There were roughly 1,200 clinics in 2010; estimates suggest this number could increase to around 3,000 for 2017.
CVS has also been expanding its walk-in MinuteClinics. Information from Convenient Care Association suggests there are 51 MinuteClinics in California and the company will establish around 1,500 clinics around the nation by the start of 2018.
There is a multitude of reasons of why these clinics are so popular.
It's Inexpensive and Easy - Some locations are open every day and offer various services like physicals, screenings, vaccinations, skin conditions and women's services. The CVS website lists the prices for the services, ranging from $89 to $129. Additional charges are included for a lab test. For instance, there is a $35 charge for a TB test.
Not Enough Primary Care Doctors - The Association of American Medical Colleges anticipates there will be a lack of primary care doctors - 45,000 less by 2020. Why is that? Doctors have opted to go for the higher-paying specialties, not enough money in hospital residencies and the growing baby boom generation needing more medical assistance.
ACA - Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans are insured, which makes it difficult to actually find a primary care doctor.
Quest, which was founded in New Jersey, is the nation's largest medical labs. One in three adult Americans and more than half of U.S. doctors and hospitals use the company. It has more than 2,000 patient services centers and labs in the U.S. It generated more than $7.5 billion in revenue for 2016.
Safeway labs are adjacent to pharmacies. Patients can either walk-in or make an appointment with check-ins being done electronically. The clinic includes private rooms, a waiting area, lab equipment and technicians along with pages for waiting patients.