Once the stepchild of the American health care system, primary care is now the linchpin of efforts to improve the health and health care of individuals and communities and to bring down costs. Factors contributing to the demand for primary care include the coverage expansion under the Affordable Care Act and an aging and growing population.
But here is the problem: we have a shortage of primary care providers, already acute in some areas of the country, and it’s expected to significantly grow in the years ahead. Coupled with consumer expectations that everything should be immediately accessible at the touch of a screen, it comes as no surprise that demand for accessible primary care, including through retail clinics, is increasing. What impact are these clinics having on cost, access, and quality?
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