RCEC shows retail clinic's future is brighter than ever

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT This year's third annual Retail Clinician Education Congress, hosted by Retail Clinician magazine in conjunction with the Convenient Care Association, was pivotal, as the event attracted nearly 500 nurse practitioners and was held during the first official National Convention Care Clinic Week, which was created to support the goals and ideals of raising awareness for the need of accessible, cost-effective, quality healthcare options in the United States. To top it off, Lt. Col. Corina M. Barrow, Army Nurse Corps, Nurse Corps Detailee for Sen. Dan Inouye, D-Hawaii, welcomed attendees and expressed the importance of retail-based clinics.

(THE NEWS: Nearly 500 practitioners gather for third annual Retail Clinician Education Congress. For the full story, click here)

Sens. Inouye and Thad Cochran, D-Miss., introduced the Senate resolution that officially designated Aug. 2 to 8, 2010, as National Convenient Care Clinic Week.

Kicking off the conference and perfectly setting the stage for what would prove to be a successful event, Barrow read from the resolution presented on the Senate floor by Inouye on July 22: "Mr. President, today I rise to recognize all of the providers who work in retail-based convenient care clinics and resolution to designate Aug. 2 to Aug. 8, 2010, as National Convenient Care Clinic Week. National Convenient Care Clinic Week will provide a national platform from which to promote the pivotal services offered by the more than 1,100 retail-based convenient care clinics in the United States. Today, thousands of nurse practitioners, physician assistants and physicians provide care in convenient care clinics at a time when Americans are more and more challenged by the inaccessibility and high cost of health care."

Clearly, the importance of retail-based health clinics is not going unnoticed. Going forward, the role of retail-based clinics will become increasingly important as healthcare reform means that about 30 million people who currently are uninsured will have healthcare coverage. This comes against the backdrop of a physician shortage and overflowing emergency rooms.

"The reality is that we need accessible and affordable options for primary healthcare services, and all of you provide that and you are part of a larger healthcare system," Tine Hansen-Turton, executive director of the Convenient Care Association, told attendees.

Coming out of the 2010 RCEC, it was clear to see that the future of the convenient care industry is bright -- perhaps brighter than ever.