Seattle-based Group Health Cooperative and Bartell Drugs announced today, Dec. 2, a collaboration to place medical clinics within three of the retailer’s Seattle and Bellevue locations in 2014 with the hope of expanding its CareClinic model in the future.
The collaboration is meant to provide more convenient and affordable access to basic care for anyone needing treatment for common minor illnesses and procedures by Group Health within Bartell Drugs locations, where customers will also be able to quickly turn around and fill prescriptions. The cost for a visit is set at $75 when dealing with issues like the cold, flu, allergies, burns, rashes, sprains and bronchitis, and access will not be restricted to Group Health members with most insurance plans being accepted. The clinics will not be available for X-rays.
The three initial start-up locations inside Bartell Drugs at the University Village in Seattle, Ballard and Crossroads in Bellevue were selected based on geographic and market data that will help the companies get a better sense about how to potentially expand CareClinics after six months of operations, said Ed Boyle with Group Health.
“I wouldn’t say it’s unique around the country,” said Boyle, “but certainly in Washington state, to my knowledge, I have not seen a local care provider and a local pharmacy retailer collaborate like this.”
The Crossroads clinic is slated to open in early February and will be a build-out inside the existing Bartell Drugs. Each clinic will be staffed with an advanced registered nurse practitioner, available during pharmacy hours. The first CareClinic to open will be at the University Village Bartell Drugs in mid-January.
“As consumers have increasing options for care, we’re also seeing increased demand for access that fits their lifestyles, Group Health and Bartell Drugs are uniquely positioned to meet that need,” said Scott Armstrong, president and CEO of Group Health Cooperative, in a news release. “Since the CareClinics will accept almost all types of health coverage, this will be an opportunity for a broader range of consumers – not just Group Health members – to experience the high level of quality that Group Health is known and recognized for.”
Group Health and Bartell Drugs will use customer service, volume and profitability metrics to conduct analyses of the success of the CareClinics over the first six months of operations to determine whether to expand its retail clinic model. How it will acquire input from CareClinic users is still being worked out between the two companies.