MinuteClinic has entered a clinical affiliations with Cleveland Clinic Florida and OhioHealth.

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MinuteClinic affiliates with Fla., Ohio health systems

June 10th, 2011

WOONSOCKET, R.I. – MinuteClinic has entered a clinical affiliations with Cleveland Clinic Florida and OhioHealth.

The CVS Caremark Corp. retail health clinic subisidiary said this week that under the agreement with Cleveland Clinic Florida, a leading hospital and physician group practice that's part of the Cleveland Clinic health system, family doctors will serve as medical directors for 12 MinuteClinics inside CVS/pharmacy stores from Palm Beach to Broward counties.

The clinics are staffed by MinuteClinic nurse practitioners, and a Cleveland Clinic Florida-appointed medical director will provide clinical consultation, according to CVS Caremark. The nurse practitioners deliver treatment for common family illnesses and administer wellness and prevention services, as well as health condition monitoring.

In addition, MinuteClinic and Cleveland Clinic Florida will collaborate on patient education and disease management initiatives. Signage at MinuteClinic locations will inform patients that each site is collaborating with Cleveland Clinic Florida.

CVS Caremark said that expanding clinical coordination with the Cleveland Clinic health system gives more patients more access to quality health care with one of the nation's premier hospitals. MinuteClinic and Cleveland Clinic currently collaborate in 10 locations in northeast Ohio.

"We look forward to working with one of the world's top medical institutions to expand access to high-quality care in South Florida and deliver positive health outcomes to thousands of patients in the region," Andrew Sussman, president of MinuteClinic and senior vice president/associate chief medical officer at CVS Caremark said in a statement. "Cleveland Clinic family physicians will be a valuable resource for our nurse practitioners, and we hope to collaborate on a number of initiatives spanning from patient wellness to information connectivity among our clinical practice sites."

MinuteClinic patients with more urgent medical needs will be referred to their existing primary care provider or the nearest urgent care center or emergency room, CVS Caremark said. If patients don't have a primary care doctor, they will be offered convenient choices that include Cleveland Clinic Florida-affiliated locations, as well as other providers.

"What is exciting about this partnership is that it gives us the opportunity to explore new ways to deliver patient care and manage chronic conditions," stated Eduardo Oliveira, chairman of the division of medicine at Cleveland Clinic Florida. "We will also be able to cost effectively provide health screenings and wellness programs which will be a tremendous benefit to the South Florida community."

Also, Cleveland Clinic Florida and MinuteClinic will work toward integration of information sharing including medical histories and visit summaries among their locations in the region. MinuteClinic will continue its standard practice of sending visit summaries to primary care providers via fax or mail, typically within 24 hours with patient consent.

Located in Weston and West Palm Beach, Fla., Cleveland Clinic Florida is a nonprofit, multispecialty, academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. It has nearly 180 physicians with expertise in 35 specialties.

Meanwhile, MinuteClinic's affiliation with OhioHealth will enhance health care at the seven walk-in medical clinics it operates in the nonprofit health organization's central Ohio market area.

"Through its many hospitals and neighborhood health centers, OhioHealth has a strong primary care presence in the Columbus area and an outstanding record for clinical quality," Sussman commented. "As we have experienced elsewhere in Ohio and in other communities in the U.S., strategic clinical affiliations between MinuteClinic and major health systems such as OhioHealth enhance our ability to extend high-quality medical services to patients in convenient retail locations near where they live and work."

Doctors affiliated with Columbus-based OhioHealth will serve as medical directors for MinuteClinics in central Ohio. MinuteClinic and OhioHealth also will collaborate on patient education and disease management and inform patients of each organization's services. OhioHealth will accept patients who need a level of care that is not provided at MinuteClinic, and the two health care providers will integrate their electronic medical record systems. MinuteClinic, too, will share medical history and visit summaries with other OhioHealth and MinuteClinic locations in the region.

"We view this as an extension of the continuum of care we offer in our hospitals, urgent care centers, primary care offices, emergency departments and more than 20 community-based outpatient centers," stated Bob Gilbert, senior operations officer for OhioHealth Neighborhood Care. "This affiliation enables OhioHealth to increase the community's access to our high-quality care and trusted team of medical professionals – providing another way to connect patients to our services."

In central Ohio, MinuteClinic has locations in Columbus, Gahanna, Grove City, Hilliard, Pickerington, Upper Arlington and Worthington.

"More than 50% of patients seen at MinuteClinic locations in Columbus do not have an established primary care relationship," noted Bruce Vanderhoff, senior vice president and chief medical officer for OhioHealth. "Together, OhioHealth and CVS MinuteClinic are committed to helping these patients re-engage with traditional primary care physicians."

In recent months, MinuteClinic has announced a series of clinical affiliations, including with Inova Health System (northern Virginia), Advocate Health Care and Advocate Physician Partners (Chicago and central Illinois), and St. Rose Dominican Hospitals (Las Vegas and southern Nevada).

Editor's Note: Article updated with information on OhioHealth affiliation.