MinuteClinic offers monitoring of health conditions

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WOONSOCKET, R.I. — MinuteClinic has introduced health condition monitoring services to help patients with diabetes, asthma, high cholesterol and high blood pressure overcome the challenges of living with their conditions.

Called Monitoring Made Easy, the new monitoring services are performed by MinuteClinic nurse practitioners and physician assistants, the CVS Caremark retail clinic subisidiary said Thursday. They are intended to support patients with ongoing health conditions in between visits to their primary care provider or to provide assistance to patients who may not receive regular care, according to the company.

MinuteClinic said it will send all health monitoring results to a primary care provider with patient permission. Visit summaries are sent via electronic medical record or fax, typically within 24 hours. Also, MinuteClinic practitioners will help patients locate a primary care provider in the community if they don’t have one, and a collaborating physician (a medical director) is on call during clinic operating hours.

"There are millions of Americans who are overwhelmed by the difficulties associated with caring for their diabetes, asthma, high cholesterol and high blood pressure," explained Andrew Sussman, president of MinuteClinic and senior vice president and associate chief medical officer at CVS Caremark. "These patients must navigate the health care system on their own and often face enormous time and cost commitments that can sometimes keep them from getting the care they need.

"By providing health condition monitoring at MinuteClinic, our goal is to be a convenient and affordable resource where patients can not only receive an exam and regular lab tests, but also spend meaningful time with a practitioner to obtain advice and have questions about their condition and medication answered," Sussman stated.

Health condition monitoring is available at MinuteClinics in CVS/pharmacy stores in 20 states and the District of Columbia. The Monitoring Made Easy services at MinuteClinic are available seven days a week, including weekday evening hours, and no appointment is necessary, the company said.

When providing health monitoring services, MinuteClinic practitioners review an individual’s medical history and perform an exam and tests based on nationally established clinical practice guidelines for standards of care, which may include an A1C test and foot exam for diabetes, breathing and oxygen level testing for asthma, a lipid profile for high cholesterol, and a blood pressure check and microalbumin test for high blood pressure.

"We know from our own research and from independent studies conducted by the Rand Corp., that as many as 60% of patients visiting our clinics are without a primary care provider," commented Sussman. "So our practitioners are in a unique position to help patients identify a primary care provider and create a path of care that includes monitoring at MinuteClinic to stay on top of their condition."

Most health insurance plans cover the health condition monitoring services, according to MinuteClinic. Self-pay visits start at $62. Patients are informed of additional lab charges at the time of visit.

A series of blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and weight evaluation screening services are also provided by MinuteClinic to patients who have not been previously diagnosed with a condition but want to determine if they are at risk.

MinuteClinic has approximately 500 locations in 25 states and the District of Columbia.


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