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HealthBeat

CVS plans for six Minute Clinic locations in New Hampshire, including Concord

By the end of the year, CVS would like to open six branches of its urgent care Minute Clinics, including one in Concord. The clinics provide drop-in care for common minor ailments such as ear, eye and throat infections, as well as joint sprains and minor wounds, among other health care services.

And, unlike other urgent care clinics in the state, Minute Clinic advertises wellness care coordinated with local primary care physicians.

The Rhode Island-based drug store applied late last month for licenses from the Department of Health and Human Services, adding its name to the growing list of urgent care centers in the state. The company hopes to open the clinics at existing CVS stores in Concord, Hampton, Manchester, Nashua, Salem and West Lebanon.

CVS operates more than 680 clinics in their retail stores in 25 states, open seven days a week, usually until 7:30 p.m. The New Hampshire locations are among 150 new clinics the company plans to open by the end of the year, said Minute Clinic Medical Director Nancy Gagliano.

Under New Hampshire law, walk-in care centers are facilities where a person can walk in from the street without an appointment and without having an established relationship with the provider, and without intent to establish one. Last November, there were 20 such centers licensed; now there are 23 licensed and one in Keene that is moving toward licensure, said John Martin, manager of the licensing division of HHS.

Another newly licensed urgent care facility, ConvenientMD, is due to open in Concord on Oct. 1. Part of a Portsmouth-based venture capital fund with a location already open in Windham, it will provide full-service
urgent care, including on-site X-rays, treatment for broken bones and any procedure that can be performed without general anesthesia, said company President Gareth Dickens.

The ConvenientMD office opening on the Heights is expected to be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, Dickens said.

Minute Clinic practitioners can diagnose, treat and write prescriptions for common illnesses such as strep throat, bladder infections, pinkeye and infections of the ears, nose and throat; administer vaccinations for flu, pneumonia, pertussis and hepatitis, among others; treat minor wounds, abrasions, joint sprains and skin conditions such as poison ivy, ringworm and acne; and provide wellness services such as physicals and offer routine tests, including those for individuals with diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure or
asthma.

Each urgent care clinic must, under state law, have an administrator with a bachelor’s degree in business or a health-related field, or who is a registered nurse or has at least four years of health-related experience. Also, each clinic must have a medical director who is a physician or an advanced practice registered nurse.

Medical directors may oversee more than one clinic location, Martin said.

The Minute Clinic locations will be staffed predominantly by nurse practitioners, but the company has been building relationships with primary care providers in the communities where the clinics open, Gagliano said.

About half of the patients who visit a Minute Clinic do not have a primary care provider, she said.

After their services, the clinic will provide a list of local doctors who are accepting new patients. For those patients who do have a primary care doctor, the clinic will send an electronic record of the visit to the doctor’s office.

The clinic can also provide some primary care services such as blood pressure testing and other support for chronic illnesses if they
can’t get to a doctor’s office during normal hours, Gagliano said.

The clinics likely will not accept Medicaid when they open, but the program is “on our list of groups to work with,” she said.

(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or
spalermo@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)

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