Pediatricians disapprove of in-store clinics


by Jared Dillingham

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Posted on February 25, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 25 at 6:32 PM

PHOENIX -- More and more parents are turning to the in-store clinics at Walgreens and CVS, much to the disapproval of pediatricians.

The American Academy of Pediatrics said parents should take their children to doctors to treat illnesses, not retail stores.

Dr. Duane Wooten has told parents of his patients that he disapproves of them taking kids to in-store clinics.

“I don’t really scold them,” Wooten said. “I just look at them like, ‘Why would you do that?’”

Parents say that in-store clinics, where numbers have doubled in the last three years, provide more convenience, like being open nights and weekends. The clinics are also suitable backups, they take insurance, and they don’t charge as much as medical centers.

Pediatricians are concerned that clinics might not provide follow-up care or adequate care, and they worry about sick kids wandering around a retail store. But most of all, they say, kids need a medical home where a doctor knows their medical history.

“It’s a special bond between doctor-patient,” Wooten said. “It’s really a doctor-patient relationship, and we want to get back to that doctor-patient relationship, and not, ‘I’m just going to go to wherever is the most convenient place for me to go.’”

Parents agree, saying they prefer a doctor who knows their children.

Representatives from CVS and Walgreens said their clinics play a complementary role and offer quality, accessible care for common illnesses. CVS said its clinic costs are between 40 and 80 percent less than a trip to the emergency room or doctor’s office.