Sacramento, Calif. – Sutter Express Care clinics – located inside Rite Aid drugstores in Roseville, and the Sacramento areas of Greenhaven and Natomas – celebrated their 100,000th patient visit in May, a noteworthy milestone for Sutter Health and for the retail clinic health care industry that is gaining more notice in light of the Affordable Care Act being signed into law.
“Retail clinics will continue to provide care to those do not have as many access points to health care services,” said Thomas Atkins, M.D., medical director of Sutter Express Care. “Retail clinics will also help fill the gaps for new patients who gain insurance coverage through the new law.”
Sutter Express Care clinics started as a pilot project back in 2006 when health care was undergoing a massive industry-wide transformation. Retail-based medical clinics like Sutter Express Care were a part of an emerging trend of new, consumer-directed products and services. Sutter Health network was even the first health system to open this type of service in California, according to a July 2006 report by the California Healthcare Foundation.
Retail health clinics now will serve an important role when the Affordable Care Act goes into effect, Jan. 1, 2014, when millions of previously uninsured Americans will gain coverage. As more and more patients will seek out primary care physicians, the retail-based medical clinics like Sutter Express Care will offer these newly insured patients another location to seek quick, convenient treatment for common ailments.
“It is such a great place for patients and for the healthcare system when minor illness come up at times or when other options are not available,” said Tyla Healton, a nurse practitioner who has been with Sutter Express Care since they launched. “Previously, an emergency room visit may have seemed like the only option for something as simple as a high fever and sore throat that couldn’t wait until morning, but Sutter Express Care is a perfect site to reduce the ER load and a convenient appropriate location for health care service for most patients.”
Sacramento resident Amy Cook was Sutter Express Care’s 100,000th patient visit. She and her family of four have been visiting Sutter Express Care since it first opened up in Natomas in 2006.
“We originally utilized Express Care because of the convenience and location, and continue because of the friendly and caring staff, who speak to our children, and not just to us; the ease of having prescriptions filled right there after the visit and the knowledge-base of the clinicians on so many things, from pediatrics to sports medicine, to everyday illnesses and more. I’m so excited to be the 100,000th visit!” said Cook.
Sutter Express Care clinics offer treatments for more than 36 common ailments, as well as vaccinations, sports physicals, preventative health screenings, and popular weight loss and smoking cessation programs. With physician oversight and following physician-developed clinical protocols, patients receive wellness services and quality care from certified nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants who have advanced training to provide diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive health care services and prescribe medications. Patients who need additional services can access, through referral, the expansive Sutter Health network of physicians, hospitals and other health care service providers. Care at the center is open to everyone over 18 months of age regardless of where the patient currently receives physician or hospital care.
Sutter Express Care clinics are open seven days a week with extended hours on weekdays.
Visits can be delivered in approximately 20 minutes at an average cost of $75 per visit for those paying out of pocket or a typical office co-pay for those who are insured.