AAP opposes retail-based health clinics

March 4, 2014

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) continues to oppose retail-based clinics (RBCs) as sources of primary care for infants, children, and adolescents, according to its most recent policy statement on the subject.

 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) continues to oppose retail-based clinics (RBCs) as sources of primary care for infants, children, and adolescents, according to its most recent policy statement on the subject.

In an update to its 2006 statement, the AAP posits that the clinics do not promote continuity of care or the medical home model, to which the AAP subscribes, adding that fragmented care jeopardizes quality of care and particularly endangers those with special needs or chronic diseases.

The AAP acknowledges that the number of RBCs has grown to more than 6,000 as of 2012. Parents often visit such clinics because of convenient hours and lower expense, and the AAP says that surveys indicate that about 15% of children will use an RBC in the future.

The AAP suggests that RBCs follow certain principles when caring for children, which include: supporting the medical home model by referring patients back to their primary care physicians; communicating information to the patient’s pediatrician in a timely manner; using evidence-based or evidence-informed medicine with requirements for oversight related to quality improvement; maintaining accepted protocols to manage infectious disease; and opposing payment that offers financial incentives for use of RBCs by pediatric patients.

If parents choose to use an RBC for their child’s illness, the AAP suggests they should ask if the clinic has a formal relationship with their pediatrician, if the clinic will communicate with the pediatrician about the visit, and what the protocol is for following up if the illness does not resolve or the clinic is closed. The AAP recommends that parents try to use only RBCs that have a formal relationship with their child’s pediatrician. 

 

 

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