The nation’s largest provider of retail-based health care has expanded into the East Valley with three locations inside CVS/pharmacy stores.
MinuteClinic recently opened inside the CVS stores at Kyrene Road and Chandler Boulevard in Chandler, and previously opened inside stores in Gilbert and Mesa.
Minneapolis-based Minute-Clinic is a subsidiary of CVS Corp., and now has more than 150 locations across the country.
MinuteClinic wants to reduce hospital emergency room traffic by cutting down on the number of people going to the emergency room for common and easily treatable ailments, said Mila Garcia, a nurse practitioner and MinuteClinic’s manager of operations for the Phoenix metropolitan area.
“We’re kind of a relief for the hospital ERs and the physicians,” she said. “You can be seen quite quickly, and if a patient has a recurrent infection, like pink eye or a sore throat, we take that time away from the physicians or the ER physicians so they can see the more complicated cases.”
No appointments are neces- sary and nurse practitioners usually are able to see patients immediately, Garcia said. The average examination takes 10 to 15 minutes.
“We have about 20-something common illnesses that are just very quick to diagnose and treat, such as allergies, bronchitis, ear infections, pink eye and strep throat,” she said. “It’s streamlined.”
MinuteClinic has beaten Colorado-based SmartCare Family Medical Centers — another provider of retailbased health care services — to the local market. Last summer, that company announced plans to open centers inside some local Wal-Mart Supercenters.
In addition to treating common illnesses, MinuteClinic offers vaccines and pregnancy testing. MinuteClinic plans to continue opening new centers across the region, said Brent Burkhardt, corporate spokesman.
“The exact number and locations wouldn’t be determined at this point, but there probably will be additional locations coming within a month or two,” he said.