The Group Health CareClinic opened last week at the new Bartell Drugs location at 1500 NW Market St. The clinic is a partnership between Group Health and Bartell Drugs to provide the local community with accessible and affordable health care solutions.
The Ballard CareClinic is one of three that have been launched in Seattle, with the other clinics located at University Village and at Crossroads in Bellevue. Group Health decided to open three as test models before rolling them out to more locations across the city.
When asked about why Ballard was chosen as one of the three, Wellesley Chapman, Medical Director of Care Delivery Innovation for Group Health, believes that it was a no brainer. “There is a lot of density in Ballard and it was a great opportunity to have the new store and CareClinic open at the same time,” says Chapman.
The idea behind CareClinic is simple yet effective. The clinic provides a drop-in service for patients that operates on a first come first served basis. Patients register at the CareClinic desk for an appointment, see the practitioner on duty and are able to fill necessary prescriptions on site. This streamlined service eliminates significant time delays commonly faced by patients when visiting clinics that are not in a retail store settings.
“Health care has not typically been driven around customer service but rather around physicians. We really wanted to up-end that and take health care out to the people,” says Chapman.
All CareClinics are staffed by Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNPs) and treat patients two years old and over for common ailments. The clinic provides treatments for illnesses including colds and flu, sinus infections, allergies, burns, rashes and cuts, pinkeye, sore throat, head lice, warts, sprains and strains, bronchitis, ear infections and urinary-tract and intestinal infections. Click here to check out their full menu of services.
CareClinic does not have lab or x-ray services on site, however, they can send away urine, strep and wound cultures for further analysis.
APRN Karen Sherwin, who is one of the two providers at the Ballard clinic, passionately believes in the retail clinic model. “It is a simpler set up that is effective and fills a specific niche. Patients receive fast, quality care and can easily get the meds they need after their appointment,” says Sherwin.
Chapman and Sherwin in the Ballard CareClinic treatment room.
Chapman agrees with Sherwin’s assertions about the effectiveness of and need for retail clinics. “CareClinic puts health care out in the community where it is relevant to people, where it’s easier to get and where it’s more affordable,” says Chapman.
In terms of the affordability of care, CareClinic offers a highly competitive rate for patients both with and without insurance. ”If you come to CareClinic it’s a $75 flat fee per visit, you pay the co-pay if you have insurance, and if not you know the price before you walk in. You pay onsite after the appointment and you have no surprise bills in the mail a month later,” says Chapman.
Patients also pay for their visit at the register along with any meds or other purchases.
Local resident Maureen Shallit who recently visited a Bartell CareClinic for assistance with an incessant cough spoke highly of her experience.
“I would recommend anyone to take advantage of what the Group Health CareClinic in Bartell Drugs has to offer. To say that the accessibility provided comfort and immediate help in addressing my concerns and physical needs is an understatement; the nurses were professional, thoughtful, thorough in my check-up and when my illness deemed a physician’s expertise, I was directed to my family doctor,” says Shallit.
For those who are slightly unsure about the retail clinic setting Chapman wants to set any worries straight. “We are one of the highest quality health care delivery systems in the nation. We deliver high quality and demand the same of these locations. It is the same standard of Group Health care,” he says.
Ballard CareClinic is now open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., and from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on weekends. Click here to learn more on the CareClinic website.