Mayor Opposes Limited Service Clinics
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For Immediate Release
September 26, 2007
Released By:
Mayor's Office
For More Information Contact:
press office
pressoffice@cityofboston.gov



Mayor Opposes Limited Service Clinics

Sends letter to state Department of Public Health

Yesterday, Mayor Thomas M. Menino sent a letter to Massachusetts Department of Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach opposing the idea of limited service clinics that CVS/pharmacy is proposing.

"Limited service clinics appear to be an inexpensive and simple solution to increasing access to care. However, they almost certainly will have unintended and perhaps undesirable long-term consequences," Mayor Menino wrote. "I appreciate the Department's intent to increase access to medical services for basic ailments, but I believe the challenges presented by this model of care far outweigh the benefits."

Last May, CVS asked the state for approval to open clinics in many of their Boston area stores. Mayor Menino believes these types of clinics would not truly benefit the patient, would hamper relationships between caregivers and their patients, that a retail store would not be a hygienic and safe medical atmosphere and that the clinics would be conflicts of interest for the stores.

"I am concerned about the level of commitment of the private corporations that run these clinics to providing culturally- and linguistically-competent care to the diverse residents of Boston and the entire Commonwealth. This is a particular strength of the strong network of community health centers in Boston, as well as the physicians in private practice throughout the city. The lack of demonstrated experience in this area may result in the exacerbation of the racial and ethnic health disparities that plague our state and nation," the letter said.

Mayor Menino added the many active healthcare centers in Boston not only treat the immediate cases that they see, but are able to track the histories of their patients and notice changes and progress better than a limited service provider could.

"Limited service practitioners do not have access to patients' medical records or familiarity with their personal or family histories and thus are ill-suited to differentiate minor symptoms from more serious health conditions. The ability of primary care medical practitioners to practice preventive medicine, coordinate care across multiple sites, and monitor multiple medications will be impeded if patients begin visiting them only for more serious illnesses," he added.

The formal written comment period for the Department's proposed amendments to 105 CMR 140.00 ends on Friday.

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