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The American College of Physicians has called for scope of practice limits on retail health clinics such as those built into chain drugstores. In the executive summary of a policy position paper by Hilary Daniel and Shari Erikson and published on the website of the Annals of Internal Medicine, ACP expressed concern over recent efforts to manage chronic conditions in the retail setting, suggesting that research into potential negative outcomes may be desirable. It acknowledged that retail sites have their place in treating acute conditions such as respiratory infections.

“A balance must be struck between the convenience and access retail clinics provide and the importance of longitudinal relationships between patients and physicians, particularly for patients who have complex medical histories,” the paper stated.

Unlike most urgent care centers, retail clinics are usually staffed onsite by midlevel providers such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners, without direct oversite by physicians.

ACP Calls for Scope of Practice Limits on Retail Clinics