Walmart Clinic Spotted In The Wild

Reader Charles spotted this clinic in his local Walmart in Georgia. He says the local hospital has partnered with the store to offer services right next to the vision center. He sent a snapshot of the prices. It’s strange to see a menu board listing illnesses. Is this a good thing?

Here are the menu boards:

Comments

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  1. AllanG54 says:

    I don’t see anything about sprains or back pain from picking peanuts.

  2. madanthony says:

    The way I see it, more competition and easier accessibility to medical services is a good thing, even if I’m not a big fan of the Wal-Mart experience.

    Although Target has had clinics in Maryland for a couple years, so the idea of a big-box store with a clinic isn’t that weird to me.

    • Groovymarlin says:

      @madanthony: I agree. Actually, these prices are really quite reasonable. If I was stuck in the situation of not having insurance, I would definitely go to a clinic like this. Prices for a simple visit with a doctor or nurse practitioner at typical “urgent care” centers are two to three times as much!

      • sammy_b says:

        @Groovymarlin: agreed – these prices are pretty good and aren’t much more than a copay when I ALSO pay per paycheck and I don’t often (ever) get sick.

      • JohnAllison says:

        @Groovymarlin: I happen to be stuck in that situation. No insurance. I am reminded daily that I am not allowed to get hurt, or sick, because I do not have insurance.

        I like what wal-mart is doing. When was the last time you saw a fee schedule in a Drs. office? When was the last time you could price shop physicians? The transparency of prices is a great thing, it will go a long way to reducing costs.

        Just 3 more months to go until Uncle Sam has me covered.

      • magic8ball says:

        @Groovymarlin: Except for the pregnancy test one. Unless they are giving you a physical exam and actually looking at your cervix, they are using a variant of the same off-the-shelf pee-on-a-stick test that you can get at WalMart for less than ten bucks.

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @madanthony: Bingo. Anyone who takes advantage of the $4/month generics program (at any pharmacy) should thank Wal-Mart. They’re the ones who used their clout the flip the pharmaceutical companies the bird.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @madanthony: After some thought, I have to agree.
      It’s very disturbing when That Entity That Cannot Be Named does something that’s a force for good in the world, but this and their CFL push are good things.
      I also like the signaling function it does in the medical market.

      ** slinks off to scrub self with hot water, horsehair scrub brush & lye **

  3. Admiral_John says:

    It amazes me that tin this day and age people still go to the doctor for a cold.

    • antisan says:

      @wchamilton: I wonder if that’s just the charge they slap patients with that come in demanding help when all they have is a cold (or demand that they have something other than a cold, I suppose.)

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      @wchamilton: I can’t help but wonder if this is aimed at the immunocompromised, rather than us healthy youfs?

    • crackers says:

      @wchamilton: Unfortunately, when I used to work retail jobs, we (even management!) were required to have doctor’s notes for any missed days due to illness. Nothing irritated me more than making an appointment and schlepping to the doctor’s office to tell them, “I have a cold. I know you can’t fix it. Please write me a note.” Ridiculous.

      • tonberryqueen says:

        @CCS: This happened to me when I used to work at H&M. I could never understand that policy. I was still in school, so I’d go to the school health center and ask the doctor to write a note saying that, yes, I was sneezing and dripping snot everywhere, and probably had been the day before when I’d called out of work but couldn’t go to the doctor because it had been a Sunday and I wasn’t wasting $90 and people’s time to go to the ER to have them verify that I seemed to have the flu.

        • crackers says:

          @tonberryqueen: Absurd, isn’t it? Not to mention the fact that it encouraged people to come to work and spread the flu to their coworkers AND anyone who had the misfortune to set foot in the store.

      • Crovie says:

        @CCS: Ridiculous, yes, but the alternative is employees being free to call in saying “Yed, I hab a cod. Can’d werk. Sowwy.” whenever they want a day off and are too lazy to find someone else to cover. Which forces the managers to scramble to fill that shift, or makes everyone else suffer by being understaffed.

    • cadieface says:

      @wchamilton: I’m an ER nurse. People not only come in for the common cold, but yell at me when I bring people having heart attacks back before them.

      Hallelujah for Walmart taking some of the load off us. Plus, it’s much cheaper than an ER bill for the cold!

      As a side note, I’ve been joking for years that we need a “menu” for our treatments… “I’ll take the sore throat with a side of headache please…”

  4. wrjohnston91283 says:

    The only issue I see is that walmart’s method of operation is to offer the lowest price by pushing suppliers to sell for less, often time forcing a cut in quality – hopefully the doctors and nurses will be ethical enough to follow all proper rules and procedures for these services.

    Other than that, I know that my doctor billed my insurance over $125 for my last phyiscal, so $80 seems pretty good if you don’t have insurance.

    I don’t know if the get well services are worth it for some of them – common cold, upset stomach, allergies? What are they going to do – tell you to go to aisle 5 and pick up some Allegra?

    WRJ

    • mbz32190 says:

      @wrjohnston91283: The clinics at Wal-Mart and other places are basically leased spaces…Walmart has some influence over them, but they are pretty much run independently (like the vision centers, hair cut places, and things like that they shove in Walmart).

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      @wrjohnston91283: WRJ,

      They can do a lot of things. If it’s an upset stomach, they can check for ulcers or other chronic conditions. if it’s a cold and someone is immunocompromised (elderly, for example), they can give them treatment to ensure they don’t get sicker.

      Allergy sufferers, such as myself, can be given prescriptions for specific allergies, rather than Zyrtec. I have nasal allergies that cannot be treated through Zyrtec alone, and spend a good chunk of change on spray antihistamine and corticosteroid treatments. I was lucky to have an ENT and insurance, but I bet a GP could have done the same for less.

      • soloudinhere says:

        @UCLAri: Seriously, though, even if you are uninsured, GET A PRESCRIPTION FOR ZYRTEC.

        The generic version of Zyrtec is about $6 for a month’s worth when prescribed. The over the counter version is about $40 for the SAME PRODUCT.

    • QuantumRiff says:

      @wrjohnston91283: Many insurance companies will re-imburse you for these kinds of clinics, call and ask them. You don’t get magically covered by insurance, you pay for it, and by shopping around, you might lessen your next premium hike. (even if your employer pays all of it, then there might be more room for raises, etc)

      I just love the idea of actually showing what is charged for what. If every doctors office posted its rates on a big board, (kinda like fast food has to post calories in many areas now) people could make better choices about what they need.

    • inadequatewife says:

      @wrjohnston91283: If you suspect that you really need an antibiotic or other prescription, this sounds like a good deal – convenient access to someone who can write a prescription and a place to fill it, all in one stop.

      It’s potentially faster and cheaper than a trip to the doctor or emergency room (which is what people around here use as a clinic since the doctors never have appointments available on short notice and constantly refer everyone to emerg).

      If you don’t think you need a prescription or any lab tests, just skip the clinic and ask the pharmacist for a recommendation of an over the counter medicine. It’s likely these clinics are staffed with nurse practitioners or physician’s assistants, so it’s not like you’re going to see a specialist.

    • TVGenius says:

      @wrjohnston91283: Yeah, I was thinking for cold sore, try Abreva for $12.

  5. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    Walgreens Take-Care clinics have something similar, although the price list is generally on a sheet of paper or a small sign or — most typically — on the sign-in computer where you sign up.

    I gotta say, I’ve been to the Take-Care twice now — flu shot and a dire ear infection — and I think it’s awesomeburgers. I love my GP and I have insurance, but the Take-Care is just so convenient and fast. I could even walk if I had to, although it’s a bit of a hike. (Also, my insurance covers treatment at the Take-Care.) And it’s nice to be able to get my Rx at the same place as I got the exam, and pick up sick-person food and trashy magazines at the same time.

    • t0ph says:

      @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): We recently discovered a 1st med/urgent care type of place here on Long Island. They only charged my GF $70 or $80/visit, wrote a prescription and required a follow up a few days later which they did not even charge us for. And there was only a 5 minute wait.

      I used to see a Dr. who gave me a break bc I have no insurance, and it was $80-$100/visit and there was always a 45 minute wait. When I called them about bring my GF there, they wanted $250(!) for the visit because she was a new patient, no matter that I have been a pataent for years. Suffice to say, I have found an easier way and wont be returning there.

      • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

        @t0ph: We have traditional urgent care clinics here, but the Walgreens clinic is even cheaper and the one-stop for the Rx is really nice. The wait is shorter, too.

      • MissKissLock says:

        @t0ph: Where on Long Island? I was just reading about those Q-something clinics in the Pacific Northwest and I was jealous.

        • t0ph says:

          @MissKissLock: The one we went to was in Baldwin. I hear the clinic annexed to the Long Beach Hospital is pretty cheap as well, even cheaper, but with longer waits.

          You live on LI?

  6. GitEmSteveDave_OverSleptThisMorn says:

    I’m guessing the list of symptoms is a way to let the people know what kind of services they offer, so people know what they can come in for and also to price compare. Just don’t bring a pen and a copy of that image into your Dr.’s office. They’ll make you leave it in the car or leave the office. ;)

  7. shepd says:

    Encouraging comparison shopping between accredited individuals offering the same highly regulated service is never a bad thing.

    • CFinWV says:

      @shepd: Well, and not only that but if they advertise reasonable prices then maybe people without insurance might consider seeking help when they’re sick. After seeing people camp out for free dental care like most of us would camp out for a new game console my outlook on health care has changed. It’s staggering how much people will endure (sickness-wise, pain-wise, etc) because they’re too afraid of how expensive it will be to treat.

      • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

        @CFinWV: I can tell you from current and personal experience that this is very true. I need oral surgery but I can’t get it beacuse I don’t have enough money to pay in full right now.

        I’m not going to take out a line of credit just for this either.. so I’m waiting. Hopefully I’ll have enough saved soon to get it done.

        It’s hard to be afraid of the dentist in genral AND be afraid of the cost.. but here I am.

  8. Erwos says:

    Where’s the “I have insurance and I’m happy about it” option? Anything that helps folks get the treatment they need at a truly affordable price (versus affordable deductible) is really a great thing.

    More competition isn’t going to hurt the medical field, and if they’re staffing this thing with RNs and NPs rather than full-on MDs, more power to them. The idea that I need a _doctor_ to tell me I have a cold or the flu or whatever seems silly.

    • CompyPaq says:

      @Erwos: I agree. Maybe is affordable healthcare was available to people without insurance, they would stop calling 911 for everything. I happen to have good insurance (as long as I remain a full-time student) with a $35 deductible for “urgent care” so I really don’t care about Walmart’s offerings, but I am sure that it can help many people.

    • diasdiem says:

      @Erwos: Considering how a like a few thousand people recently flocked to a 1-day free clinic in Houston, this would probably be a good thing.

  9. VooDoo288 says:

    They already did this in several locations here in Richmond. It failed.

    • VooDoo288 says:

      To reply to both GitEm and Pecan:
      This was a co-op between Bon Secours and WallyWorld called RediClinic. It basically did the same thing as what is being posted here and included physicals for students that needed it for sports and such.
      To me it looked as if no one was interested and I would bet it was because like the other in-store locations like Woodforest Bank, the Money Store and the hair salon the RediClinic was in full view of everyone. Heck even the hair salon has more privacy. Here’s some more info:
      [www.rediclinic.com]

  10. osiris73 says:

    I’m all for it. And that survey is ridiculous. Where’s my option for “awesomeburgers” as Eyebrows stated? Your awesomeburgerlessness makes the baby Jesus cry.

  11. moore850 says:

    i can’t wait for some pregnant lady to get arrested for a receipt check coming out of there… yay walmart! you go get those criminals!

  12. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    I don’t have health insurance and I am happy about this.. The more companies that offer this kind of care means that I have more choice in where I can go when I get sick, and this is a great thing.

  13. barb95 says:

    Ear Wax removal for $70?!?! Jeez!

    • ecwis says:

      @barb95: It’s somewhat labor intensive. They’re not just putting a medication in your ears, most doctors clean ears by irrigating them with warm water (and sometimes with hydrogen peroxide added).

      • shepd says:

        @ecwis:

        Bingo!

        I get this done every 3 or so years when my hearing gets so bad I can barely hear (again), usually requires someone telling me I’m yelling at them to notice, though.

        Yes, I try doing it at home, but it doesn’t work as well. Sometimes Hydrogen Peroxide helps break up the wax, and the ear syringes help too, but after a few years the wax just gets impacted to the point only a waterpik gets rid of it.

        For $70 every few years, it’d be a good deal to ensure my hearing is 100% (Although, weirdly, this is one of the few non-life-threatening things covered for free in Canada, so I don’t pay). Takes the doctor about 15 minutes with me as a patient to do it, and I expect about 15 minutes total for setup and cleanup.

        BTW: It is true, someone whose hearing is blocked for a long time can hear *everything* for a day or two. Stuff that others would never notice, like your watch ticking even though it’s nowhere near your ear.

  14. OneTrickPony says:

    I have no idea why anyone would find this objectionable. Transparency is a good thing. The seems basically the same as the MinuteClinic service that is available in certain CVSs, and they also have their price lists clearly visible. You not only know what it’s going to cost, you know what services are available.

  15. Trai_Dep says:

    Shucks. I guess we can rescind the Health Reform bill now, since Wal-Mart has sailed in to the rescue!

    • Erwos says:

      @Trai_Dep: I know your hatred of Wal-Mart is legendary around here, but you do realize this is the kind of thing that genuinely helps make healthcare affordable, right?

      But, hey, let’s shut ‘em all down because it’s Wal-Mart. Screw those sick people, we can’t let Wal-Mart win!

  16. thatmorrowguy says:

    I’m all for these sorts of clinics. I have insurance, but a really high deductible beyond my annual physical and some basic care. If it was something that I knew that I basically just needed a basic prescription I might be more likely to stop in one of these places because I could do it on a weekend for a known fixed cost rather than dealing with insurance.

  17. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Not to nitpick, but is TB tuberculosis? Were they really unable to type the whole thing out? They had plenty of room, as it stands it says “TB………………………………” Yup, plenty of room.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @Loias: TB is indeed tuberculosis. I’m pretty sure it’s not spelled out on there because it would probably cost a good chunk of change to print out thousands of signs with an extra 10 letters rather than a ton of little elipses.

      Also, TB is more identifiable, IMO. I wasn’t aware that these kinds of clinics could actually treat active TB, so maybe they are offering TB tests instead.

      • Red Cat Linux says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: What spooks me is that there are two tests for TB. One comes back positive for past or present exposure. The other comes up positive for active infection. At least that is the way it was explained to me once. Something to do with the vaccines at the time I got mine.

        Health department regulations probably require them to report any positive findings, too.

        I’ve had clinics flag me as positive after the first test then run the second test to find out that I didn’t actually have it.

        I’d hate for a WallFart physician’s assistant to flag me as a rogue TB carrier by accident.

        • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

          @RedCatLinux: It’s not that big a deal; I had a roommate get exposed to active TB while she worked in a hospital, and she had to get tested every X weeks, and then ever X months for two years and report to the health department. I had to get tested too (just once, because I lived with her) and report it. The health department paid for it all, it’s very routine, and it was no big deal.

          My MIL always comes up positive as well on the first test; she was exposed as a child. Again, not that big a deal.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @Loias: Maybe they figure their target audience doesn’t know that tuberculosis is TB.

    • oloranya says:

      @Loias: I think it’s more common for people to refer to it as TB, so that’s what they put on the sign.

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      @Loias: Yes, TB is tuberculosis. I suspect that they went with TB because TB is easier to read, and as pecan put it, “more identifiable.” It’s a much more internationally understood name than tuberculosis. I should note that my fiancée, a med student and former TB researcher, used “TB” instead of tuberculosis all the time. Tuberculosis is a rather clunky word, and you gain nothing by using it in lieu of “TB.” Besides, TB can stand for “tubercle bacillus,” which is a perfectly reasonable nomenclature.

      Oh, and pecan, I don’t doubt at all that they can treat TB at a clinic. Treatment is just a long course of antibiotics which are fairly affordable. You don’t need to see a pulmonary specialist to get that.

      • katia802 says:

        @UCLAri: I’m guessing it’s TB testing. Jobs in some fields, (working around kids, day cares, nursing homes) require a clear TB test before you can start working.

    • Jeangenie says:

      @Loias: Lots of jobs require TB testing. School workers.

    • Kuchen says:

      @Loias: It’s definitely just the test they’re offering, not treatment of any sort. Plenty of jobs require a TB skin test. I have to get one every year for work. Any kind of student that works directly with patients would have to get one, too. I can get mine through employee health, but if you’re a student and not actually employed through the hospital or clinic where you’re doing your rotation, you would need to get it done somewhere else. This is probably a lot cheaper than making a doctor’s appointment just for that.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @Loias: My school enrollment card thingie for my kid says “TB.” Probably parents come and ask for a “TB test.” “Tuberculosis?” “Oh, I don’t know, the card says TB …”

      (They actually gave us the card at the hospital when he was born. I find it difficult to believe I will manage not to lose it for FIVE. YEARS.)

  18. pot_roast says:

    CVS already has MinuteClinics, and we have CareNow, PrimaCare, and First Choice ER here in the Dallas/Ft Worth area. This is in addition to many other Urgent Care clinics. They all take insurance and often offer significant discounts for cash paying folks.

    I think this is a good thing. It has certainly alleviated the strain on local emergency rooms. I expect that there will be people ripping on it just because Wal-Mart is involved, but that’s just silly.

    So, my vote: Good Thing.

    • morganlh85 says:

      @pot_roast: Exactly. Keeping people from going to the ER when they have the flu will do a world of wonder for overstressed emergency rooms, and a wonder for hospitals that have stacks of unpaid bills from ER patients seeking treatment for the common cold.

  19. captadam says:

    There’s something weird about commodifying medicine in this manner. Here’s the list of medical services … and here are the associated prices. It’s weird. And it introduces a consumer model into medicine (“I have this, and I want this from my doctor to treat it”) that precludes care for the whole body.

    • treimel says:

      @captadam:

      I think it would be great if medical pricing were this transparent everywhere.

    • P=mv says:

      @captadam: This clinic is in no way intended to replace your GP. It is just that a visit to an emergency/immediate care clinic tends to hover around $250 per regardless of your problem. It is unusual, but I believe it is a step in the right direction.

  20. Urgleglurk says:

    With their reputation, why would anyone in their right mind go to a Wal-Mart for medical care, good prices or not?

  21. windycitygirl68 says:

    So if enough of us come in with sinus infections, will they lower the price? Isn’t that what Walmart is all about – purchasing power? Seriously, though, for people with little or no health insurance, what is wrong with this option?

  22. AndroidHumanoid says:

    Yeah…good idea! “Honey…I think I might have TB. Lets go to Walmart and spread it to hundreds of people”. Around my way, at a little hospital downtown, if you have TB, you’re locked up in a room, and anyone coming in is gowned up from head to toe, complete with mask. Keep your dang TB to yourself!

  23. Donathius says:

    $70 for earwax removal? If people will actually pay that I’m going to quit my job right now and do earwax removal full-time.

    Although I do like the $70 for a sprain…my emergency room copay is $150. That’s a case where I would totally go to Wal-Mart in lieu of the hospital.

    • boobookitteh says:

      @Donathius: earwax removal is actually more involved than suture removal. If the earwax is all hard and impacted especially. and you have to be careful not to puncture the eardrum.

  24. The_Legend says:

    Considering the reputation of their Lube, Tire, and Battery centers, would you want to take your kid to the same place that you can’t trust with your car?

    • widmer says:

      @The_Legend:

      Pretty sure a Walmart employee won’t be the one you see in the clinic.
      “the local hospital has partnered with the store to offer services right next to the vision center.”

      • The_Legend says:

        @widmer: Yep and I bet there is a battle between the doctors/nurse practitoners to spend there time at the WallyWorld clinic. Probably more of a “Remember your poor record at this hospital? We will let you stay here if you practice at Wal-Mart!”

  25. quirkyrachel says:

    I and my family have used the same models at CVS/Walgreen’s with great results. My dad got stitches out at one, and I had an infection treated at another. It was sooooo much cheaper than going to the ER (even with insurance).

  26. Jesse says:

    Hy-Vee has been doing these in-store clinics for quite some time now. It’s nice for simple medical procedures like ear wax removal, which the doctor will have a nurse do anyways. They’re cheaper and you can usually get right in without much wait.

    I used one of these Alegent/Hy-Vee clinics once and did not have an issue.

  27. cookmefud says:

    doesn’t it seem like a bad thing to anyone else to have sick people going to be treated in a store where (in most cases) people are buying food? doesn’t this seem like a bad thing to be drawing in a lot of pretty sick people with all sorts of possible contagious things into a central area where say…I’m ringing up baby food 20 feet away?

    • inadequatewife says:

      @cookmefud: Sick people are in Walmart and the grocery store all the time. Just diagnosed with whatever, getting their prescription filled and stocking up on juice, jello, chicken soup, and other “sick people” foods. The clinic isn’t any different.

  28. bohemian says:

    $65 for a tetanus shot? I got charged over $300 when I had to go get one at acute care after I stuck a rusty nail into my hand by accident.

  29. shubox215 says:

    Do these services include any needed prescriptions? That would be a huge selling point if Wally World can negotiate cheap generics to include in these services.

    • ecwis says:

      @shubox215: That would be nice if they could provide the meds right in the clinic but I assume you’ll have to walk over to the pharmacy to fill it. Walmart already has their $4 generic program so this seems like a great deal. $55 to diagnose and write a script for a sinus infection, and $4 for the prescription.

  30. ninabi says:

    This is okay in the way that Jiffy Lube and other oil change centers are okay.

    If you just need an oil change at a low price, it’s fine.

    But when things get a bit complicated or there are subtle hints of bigger problems, what then? Will the person going in for sore throat just be checked for strep? What if it’s mono instead?

    The menu board seems limited. I can think of many other conditions that aren’t exactly ER worthy but should be seen. In the interest of efficiency and the bottom line, will some medical problems get overlooked because the focus was on “menu choice #3″ on the board?

  31. demitasse says:

    Every single one of the items on that price menu is more than what my insurance is billed when I go to the doctor. Geez, the last time I got a tetanus booster it only cost about $20, and it wasn’t terribly long ago that I got it, either!

    I don’t mind the idea of in-house clinics at all, but I’d pay a fair chunk more going to Wal-Mart than I do otherwise.

    • h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

      @demitasse: Yes, but some people don’t have insurance to fall back on.

      • demitasse says:

        @h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes: If my insurance is billed $30 for a tetanus shot, and I pay $20 for my copay, the total cost of the tetanus shot is $50, which is still less than the listed $65.

        Admittedly, it’s been a while since I got one, and rates could have increased since then, but $50 is still less than $65, whether you’ve got insurance or not.

  32. Zachary Jacob Zblewski says:

    Our Walmart has a had a clinic in it for awhile. It has the local hospitals name on it, and I don’t think their prices are this low. I see quite a few people in there during the day.

  33. soloudinhere says:

    The only issue I have with these is they put them in major metro areas, where in fact the places they’re MOST needed are the more rural locations.

    I lived in northern Vermont for several years and if you got sick, sprained your ankle, whatever between 4pm on a friday and 9am on a Monday, the ER in Burlington was the ONLY place you could go within about 85 miles.

    The urgent care clinic was only open 4 hours a day, and was right down the street from the hospital, so no closer than just going to the ER.

    If there had been MinuteClinics or whatever in the outlying towns, you can bet that Fletcher Allen’s FastTrack would have seen a lot less activity.

  34. Red Cat Linux says:

    The $70 suture removal…. because alcohol, tweezers and small scissors aren’t $12.00 (total) in the health and beauty aisle?

    I’m no saying that people need to be Rambo and pull out their own arrows, but $70 to snip and pull threads…

  35. pinecone99 says:

    I can’t believe people actually go see a doctor for most of these things!

  36. UrIt says:

    you’d think with it being walmart there’d be an STD screening choice

  37. Portalis says:

    There are 3 Wally clinics around my Missouri Area. They are awesome for little issues like Bronchitis. 40$ (with my insurance) and I was in and out with my diagnosis and medication quickly.

    Don’t be too fast to demonize this new development. I’m a guy and I naturally avoid the doc. just like the rest of the male population, and this new development is convenient as hell. They accepted my insurance, and took good care of me. It was clean, and quick.

  38. sassbrown74 says:

    How come pink eye is only worth $55 but if you get a sore throat, that’s $80 you’re shelling out?

  39. Mr. Chip says:

    This is fantastic! One of the things that is most broken in our medical system is that it is impossible to find out the price of a procedure before it takes place. We are insulated by insurance from knowing what our health care will cost until the bill comes. Simultaneously, doctors are unaware of the prices associated with any tests or procedures they administer to or order for us.

    Having doctors and patients fully aware of the price of health care, without obfuscating it behind hospital networks and insurance companies, will go a long way toward fixing our health care mess.

  40. Duckula22 says:

    OK, that’s it, the ambitious SOB who runs Walmart needs to be stopped, or tought the meaning of the word “niche”.

  41. dulcinea47 says:

    My question is, what if you go in for a TB test and you *do* have TB? Who treats you? No one? You just go around spreading it? If you’re pregnant where do you go for prenatal care? If you’re diabetic where do you get counseling on diet and nutrition and medication if you need it? I just don’t see what good it does to have a place that will diagnose you with stuff but not provide any sort of care for it.

    I also fear that this is going to lead to even more unecessary overuse of antibiotics. Are they really going to tell people, “You have a cold (/flu/other illness caused by a VIRUS), go buy some Nyquil, that’ll be $55″? Or are they going to be passing out antibiotics to all comers in order to make them feel like they didn’t waste their time and money? Ugh.

  42. admiral_stabbin says:

    Did they post any info on the return policy? If I spend $25 for TB and it’s not all that and more, I want the $25 back!

  43. baquwards says:

    I think that these could do well if people would rethink their medical needs. You could have your primary care doctor for check ups and tests if you are on meds, but for those in between times when needs are simple, clinics like these can fill a great need at a fraction of the cost.

  44. RStui says:

    They should have a prescription service for refills for regular prescriptions like Birth Control, pain pills, daily medications, and stuff.

    I’d go to them instead of my GYN/Rheumatologist/ENT DR if they had something less than my co-pay for those things. …understanding I would also have regular annuals with my DRs as well.

  45. HaxRomana says:

    I went to one of the CVS MinuteClinics a few weeks ago when I busted the ever-loving shit out of my knee, and they actually rocked my proverbial socks.

    I mean, they couldn’t fix my knee, because I did too good a job of busting it up, but it was very speedy and everyone I interacted with was professional and courteous. Next time I have something that actually falls within their scope of practice I’ll absolutely go back.

    If Wal*Mart can run their system as well as CVS can, that’s great. Easier access to healthcare is easier access to healthcare. I probably won’t ever use it, because it’s still Wal*Mart, but it’s not a bad idea at all.

  46. donovanr says:

    I wish we had this in Canada where medicine is free but the doctors rarely do anything for you. I have had a sinus infection for a while but the doctor keeps saying “Don’t worry if you still have a problem in a few weeks come back.” Then when I come back; same story. I would love to just pay what the doctor wants ($55) and get this damn sinus infection treated. It’s not that the doctors here suck it is that they work for a crap system.
    I am tempted to get a family doctor in another country where I can pay for the services that I need not just take what service the system feels like giving me.
    Money is worth infinitely less than my family’s health.

    • floraposte says:

      @donovanr: That’s what they mostly do in the U.S. as well, though, and recent research suggests that’s actually appropriate–that most sinus infections aren’t actually bacterial.

    • baquwards says:

      @donovanr: I smell a troll. unless you live in a border town, why would you travel to another country for treatment? I mean how many other countries convenient to Canada are there?

      I smell an american scared of health care reform. I grew up near Canada and never heard people complain about health care there.

  47. MooseOfReason says:

    This is a good thing.

    With insurance, no one knows what anything costs. Having menus listing what things cost is great.

    John Stossel talked about them in his documentary, “Sick in America”:

  48. baristabrawl says:

    Oh shit, it’s the end of days.

  49. zibplipperman says:

    Wow! Now I can be tested for TB and get my motor oil and pork rinds all at the same place! Convenience, thy name is Walmart!

  50. cookmefud says:

    @inadequatewife: no, it is different. your random sick people dispersed throughout the store is not the same as a store literally wooing sick people to come to it’s location to be treated for a variety of ailments. by default it will be pulling in more sick people than are normally there. probably ones that haven’t been treated in a while if they are lured by the low costs of such a clinic.
    so, I would say the likelihood of people coming in thinking “oh hey I’ve just got this problem, I don’t have any other real diseases.” and finding out that really they are all sorts of jacked up with other communicable stuff is probably pretty good.

  51. mosammey says:

    This concept is done at Randall’s in Houston. I was actually recommended to go there by a physician’s office because I wanted to see the doctor last minute and I was a new patient.

  52. Covertghost says:

    Hmm $70 for earwax removal…

    I figure I’ve gotten good enough at not smashing q-tips through my ear drum that I’d be willing to do it for $50…

  53. duncanblackthorne says:

    *FEAR*

  54. the_wiggle says:

    beats the hell out of my $1500 deductible + 10% no max policy.

    it’s posted prices.

    lovin’ it :)

  55. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    @Trai_Dep: y’know if it were only that easy.

  56. osiris73 says:

    @Trai_Dep: They couldn’t do that. That would ruin sales from the in-store Blimpie and fried chicken with deep-fried potato wedges over at the deli.

  57. mazzic1083 says:

    @pecan 3.14159265: Agree with you 100%. Also, people go to the doctors to take something like antibiotics for a cold, the body gets used to said antibiotic and starts to resist it, next time that person is REALLY sick and in need of an antibiotic it becomes a guessing game for those doctors to find the right one and dosage to work. I don’t want to waste any antibiotic efectiveness on a cold that I know sleep and nyquil can destory in a few days.

  58. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    @morganlh85: If you have TB, you need to treat it. You can’t treat it by taking NyQuil, so you better get your butt to a doctor right away.

    You should know whether you have the inactive TB in your body already. Like morganlh85 said, you have to be tested early on to go to school or in some cases, to work.

  59. floraposte says:

    @mazzic1083: That’s not quite how antibiotic resistance works, though–it’s not really a person-by-person response. However, since a cold is a virus, they shouldn’t be getting an antibiotic for it anyway, and I totally agree with your notion that antibiotics shouldn’t be used when other measures will take care of the problem effectively. Apparently most sinus infections aren’t bacterial in origin but are still superfluously treated with antibiotics, and Australia tends not to prescribe antibiotics for kids with ear infections because they clear up in roughly the same amount of time without them without the possible antibiotic risks.

  60. failurate says:

    @AshCatScram: Lack of transparency in billing… it has to be in the top 3 in things that killed our current health care system.

  61. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    @UCLAri: You win! If it was something more serious I would bite the bullet (hah.) and take out the credit line.. but at this point I feel like it’s best to wait.

  62. ARP says:

    @UCLAri: This is where the debate on healthcare has been lacking. Most current insurance companies don’t cover preventative care. So in this case, he/she would have to wait before it gets worse and then treat it.

  63. floraposte says:

    @pecan 3.14159265: It might also be a way to cover themselves when “a cold” is the doctor’s diagnosis. I presume a lot of people come in not knowing what they’ve got, so this isn’t quite the “if you have A, we’ll charge you B” that it first seems; it’s more a way to break out by diagnosis the cost of looking at a snotty person who needs to have a throat and nose looked at but no cultures taken.

  64. Elginista says:

    @sammy_b: I love the price list, too. I’ve often been shocked at the bills after treatment when I see just how much was billed to insurance! I recently had to go through a round of physical therapy that my insurance wouldn’t cover until I met my (high) deductible… it was like pulling teeth to get a straight answer about how much each session was going to cost. I kept getting a, “Well, it depends…” basically saying that prices are higher if they know they can stick some to an insurance company.

    A standard price list at a doctor’s office would be a huge win for healthcare in general.

  65. tinyhands says:

    @sammy_b: Except that when they ring you up and the scanner is down, they have to shout over the loudspeaker,

    “IRV! I NEED A PRICE CHECK ON COLD SORES AND A URINARY TRACT INFECTION!”

  66. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    @UCLAri: It makes sense though. UCLA is well, UCLA, but UC Berkeley isn’t UCB. I can see how someone would go with one but not the other.

  67. floraposte says:

    @Kimaroo – Fortified with Kittydus Purrularis: K, do you have a specific dentist/oral surgeon who’d be doing it? Maybe I’m lucky (I know I’m lucky with my dentist, who is wonderful), but I’ve found a lot more flexibility and cost breaks there than in medicine. I get it may still be out of your current budget, but if you haven’t asked for possibly reduced pricing or a payment plan, that’s definitely worth a try.

  68. UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

    @pecan 3.14159265: Sure. My point was– though badly made– that some acronyms mean just as much, if not more, than the original names.

    CIA, NASA, FBI, AIDS, HIV, TB, MRSA, UCLA, etc.

    TB is just one of those acronyms that everyone uses, so I see no problem with its being put on a board.

  69. shepd says:

    @pecan 3.14159265:

    Take it from someone with the problem: The drops don’t work that well. They help somewhat. My parents had used them religiously on me, and I still had to go to the doctor.

    Using drops like that too often can result in ear infections and fungal infections due to the moisture being introduced. I know, I’ve had them! You can dry the ear canal out with 99% IPA, but then it stings like absolute hell and leaves you with a lasting irritation, and you have to do it every single time you clean them. And the dryness from the IPA can cause a whole different set of infections. Woohoo!

    The worst result I’ve had with drops is having them get trapped between the eardrum and earwax. That usually involves being unable to drive, never mind negotiate stairs for several hours. It also causes headaches, extreme disorientation, nausea, and occasionally vomiting. Did I mention last time this happened I fell over before I left the bathroom due to a lack of balance?

    Some people’s earwax is just a bit more like gorilla glue than others who are lucky enough to have something the consistency of the white glue half the class ate in Kindergarten. In fact, earwax is a defining family trait. Many Asians, for example, have such dry earwax they sell devices over there to simply pick it out.

    Only one time has my earwax ever actually just “fallen” out of my ear without drops.

  70. cadieface says:

    @pecan 3.14159265: Sometimes, we use liquid stool softeners to loosen up tough wax! I’ve never used OTC ear drops on people. Mostly just hydrogen peroxide and warm saline, plus the “squirty plastic tube”.

    I think the $70 charge is for the gross factor. Ever seen a huge clump of ear wax? nasty.

  71. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    @floraposte: I’m not overly attached to one in paticular.. but I would probably go to the same one where my husband went a couple of years ago.. They were really good and everything went well.. but the price was 2500 dollars when all was said and done. We have a thing called “Ameriplan” which gives us a discount on dental work.. but only 20%. Which is better than a sharp stick in the eye.. but still not affordable right now.

  72. baquwards says:

    @floraposte: I explained to my oral surgeon that even though I had insurance My portion would be a major hardship on me. He reduced the charges by a couple hundred bucks. In the next couple of years I visited him a couple times more, when I was in a better financial place. I told him that I would always give him my business because of the break that he gave me, and the quality work that he had done.

    My regular dentist has worked with me to get my dental issues fixed at a rate that I could afford them. I have zero debt and healthy teeth, I haven’t had healthy teeth for most of my adult life.

  73. floraposte says:

    @Kimaroo – Fortified with Kittydus Purrularis: If you think you could afford a majority percentage of that if it’s spread out (I have $1500 over a year in my head, for no reason), I’d say call and ask specifically if that’d be doable. The worst they can do is say no. I get that that’s still more money than may be possible in that time, but I just wanted to make sure you weren’t skipping this because you hadn’t checked with the dentist on a possible negotiation.

  74. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    @shepd: Yeah, I would know. I have always had earwax problems. But most people don’t. I asked a nurse one time why I had these kinds of earwax problems and she said it was a hereditary condition.

  75. GitEmSteveDave_OverSleptThisMorn says:

    @shepd: Penn Gillete did a whole segment on his radio show about Asian earwax when he used his dentists earbuds and explained why he wasn’t worried.

  76. Ragman says:

    @h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes: “(I’ve neglected to get a primary care physician since I switched insurance companies…yeah, I know.) “

    Been there, done that. I went through two primary care docs before I got sick at one point due to the docs playing musical insurance groups.

  77. Red Cat Linux says:

    @pecan 3.14159265: Heh – and that’s the confusion that I was describing. I’m neither a carrier, nor do I have a latent infection.

    There was a vaccine years back for TB which had this annoying side effect of flagging positive on the first test. I don’t think it was used in the states, but I wasn’t living in the states when I got this vaccine.

    I wouldn’t want to go ten rounds about that with a WallyWorld sawbones.

  78. GitEmSteveDave_IsSlacking says:

    @diasdiem: Hi Dr. Nick!

  79. cookmefud says:

    @UCLAri: I would much rather sick people going to a location that is well trained in disinfecting it’s areas, handling stuff like this than utilizing a grocery store as such.

  80. sammy_b says:

    @Elginista: Having worked in healthcare – it is such a struggle. If patient A comes in with United healthcare to get a sleep study at my sleep clinic, the insurance company will get billed $1500, which is what Hospital XYZ charges for it. United will say “okay you get $700…and if you don’t take it then we’ll just stop allowing our customers to go to Hospital XYZ’s sleep clinic.” So the hospital takes it, because it meets a portion of expenses and increases the volume which will eventually make money.

    If patient B comes in without insurance they’ll bill him the entire $1500 and, not knowing that he can negotiate, he’ll either pay it all (yaaay for the hospital!) or skip out on the bill, which gets passed on to other customers.

    Always negotiate with healthcare providers – although hopefully that mess will be behind us soon.