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Popul Health Manag. 2012 Dec;15(6):358-61. doi: 10.1089/pop.2011.0088. Epub 2012 Jul 12.

Repeat retail clinic visits: impact of insurance coverage and age of patient.

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  • 1Department of Family Medicine Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


As retail clinics provide a less costly alternative for health care, it would be reasonable to expect an increase in multiple (repeat) retail visits by those patients who may have expenses for receiving primary care. If costs were not a significant factor, then repeat visits should not be significantly different between these patients and those with coverage for primary care visits. The hypothesis for this study was that patients with the potential for out-of-pocket expenses would have a higher frequency of repeat retail clinic visits within 180 days compared to those with primary care coverage. A retrospective chart review was conducted of 5703 patients utilizing a retail clinic in Rochester, Minnesota from January 1, 2009 through June 30, 2009. The first visit to the retail clinic was considered the index visit and the chart was reviewed for repeat retail clinic visits within the next 180 days. Using a multiple logistic regression model, the odds of a pediatric patient (N=2344) having a repeat retail visit within 180 days of the index visit were not significantly impacted by insurance coverage (P=0.4209). Of the 3359 adult patients, those with unknown coverage had a 25.6% higher odds ratio of repeat retail clinic visits than those with insurance coverage (odds ratio 1.2557, confidence interval 1.0421-1.5131). This study suggested that when cost is an issue, the adult patient may favor retail clinics for episodic, low-acuity health care. In contrast, the pediatric population did not, suggesting that other factors, such as convenience, may play more of a role in the choice of episodic health care for this age group.

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