New Allina Everyday Clinic Opens in Plymouth
Something new has arrived in Plymouth. An Allina Health Everyday Clinic opened April 8 inside the Plymouth Hy-Vee grocery store.
It’s the sixth Allina Everyday Clinic in the Twin Cities. All of them are inside Hy-Vee grocery stores. Each opened in the last year. Other locations include Robbinsdale, New Hope and Brooklyn Park.
“We’re trying to deliver services more conveniently to patients,” said Kayla Vinje, program manager of operations implementation and optimization for Allina Health.
Vinje says it’s not just convenience that makes retail clinics attractive.
“I think a good benefit of a retail clinic is the cost aspect. Traditionally retail clinics cost a little bit less than your traditional primary care clinic,” said Vinje.
Everyday Clinics treat minor injuries and illnesses, like strep and pink eye. They also provide vaccinations and they offer sports physicals for kids. Allina Health says retail clinics fill a gap in the health care spectrum for the uninsured and underinsured, and for families with immediate needs on weekends and evenings.
“It’s important because we kind of help take a little bit off the plate for maybe some of the urgent cares, the emergency rooms, and for some of the family practice clinics,” said Whitney Evans, a nurse practioner at the Plymouth Everyday Clinic. “If they’re sent home early from school, maybe from being sick, there’s not many places you can just get in real quick and get your kid examined.”
Retail Clinic Growth is Flat
According to industry insiders, new retail clinics like the Plymouth Everyday Clinic are a bit of a phenomenon.
“It’s a very difficult business model to make work,” said Tom Charland, CEO and founder of Shoreview-based Merchant Medicine, a health system consulting group. “The hospital system needs some other reason than clinic operating-margin to be in this business.”
Charland says more than 60 percent of hospital-owned retail clinics have closed. One example is North Memorial, which had been inside Hy-Vee stores.
“The clinics inside grocery stores, or even inside drug stores, the CVS MinuteClinics, those have flattened out. Walgreens is essentially trying to get out of the business by turning their own clinics over to hospital systems,” said Charland.
Retail clinics count on patient demand the cold and flu season and typically have lower patient volumes, especially during the summer. But Allina is banking on its convenience and pricing. The company posts prices on its website for treating minor illnesses, which range from $109 to $149, depending on the condition.
“Patients and consumers like to know what they’re getting,” said Vinje. “They want to know what they’re going to pay before they come in.”