WOONSOCKET – CVS Caremark Corp. plans over the next five years to double the number of MinuteClinics it operates in response to the health reform law President Barack Obama signed last month and the aging of the U.S. population.
CVS Chief Financial Officer David M. Denton told Bloomberg News the company sees an opportunity as more people seek care under the new law and baby boomers start signing up for Medicare.
“There will be a gap in the number of providers available in an already constrained system,” Denton told Bloomberg. “Our MinuteClinics are a very nice complement to that environment. We will easily double the number of clinics and maybe even more than that.”
MinuteClinic provides quick check-ups for common illnesses inside CVS/pharmacy stores at relatively low cost (between $30 and $110). The visits are often covered by health insurance.
MinuteClinic was founded as an independent company in 2000 and acquired by CVS Corp. in 2006. The company currently operates roughly 500 in-store clinics in 25 states including Massachusetts, where locations include Fall River and Taunton. There are no MinuteClinics in Rhode Island at this time.
CVS is in the process of moving the MinuteClinic division’s headquarters from Minneapolis to Rhode Island. The transition began in January and is expected to be completed by the end of September.
Denton told Bloomberg that CVS also plans to expand the services provided at MinuteClinics from acute care for ear aches and strep throat to help for patients with chronic illnesses. The in-store clinics already provide services for people with diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma, he said.
Walgreen Co. is also planning to open more in-store clinics, Bloomberg said.