Prestigious Partners HealthCare, whose flagship is the Massachusetts General Hospital, will open as many as a dozen urgent-care clinics over the next three years, in Massachusetts, in a move that helps highlight the more general moves in U.S, healthcare from inpatient to outpatient services and from the use of very expensive physicians to cheaper nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
It also poses a threat to nearby, Rhode Island-based CVS, whose drugstores are rapidly adding urgent-care centers. The prestige of Partners’ famous hospitals may take some business away from CVS’s urgent-care centers, which it calls MinuteClinics. It may also lighten the load a bit in some area hospitals’ emergency rooms.
Partners is late to urgent care in Massachusetts. Steward Health Care System, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Lahey Health, and others are already in the business, either directly or with partners, The Boston Globe reports.
But, The Globe reports, “Partners has advantages in its size and reputation. It is the parent of 10 hospitals, including Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s, and has 6,000 doctors, the largest network in the state. It also is planning more urgent care locations than most of its competitors.”
“This is more than a pilot for us,” said Dr. Gregg S. Meyer, chief clinical officer of Partners, told The Globe. “These are meant to be extensions of availability and convenience for patients. We know we are not always as available as possible for our patients.”